Prayer the Desire of God
"Why could we not drive the spirit out?"
He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."
Life’s great problems can only be dealt with in prayer. Prayer should be the most wonderful embrace of our lives! The Greek New Testament word for prayer is pros-yü-khā’ which is used 39 times. The verb form is pros-yü’-kho-mī which is used 90 times. These are not the only words for prayer in New Testament but the most frequently used. Because this word as a noun and verb is the most repeated one in the New Testament we can see how important it is to understand it if we hope to grasp the meaning of prayer.
The etymology of pros-yü’-kho-mī basically means desire euchomai. St Augustine said "the desire to pray is prayer itself". The verb form of the word for prayer is in middle voice. With the desire for the other is the notion of a personal response of the beloved. In simple terms when I pray not only must I desire God, but He first must desire me. It is a two way street. God must want my company before I can make any contact with Him. I must pray that I can pray. "O God, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise" is first thing we say as we begin the official prayer of the Church.
In grade school I really was attracted to a very pretty girl. But I don’t think she hardly noticed that I existed, and I was too afraid to say anything to her. It was my first failure in communication. So it is with God. No prayer will ever happen if God does not make the first move towards me. Of course I must respond. It takes two to pray! Prayer is that ultimate embrace of two desires. It is the incredible hug of infinite love!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.