By Jan Magiera – Colorado Springs, CO
Would you like to have clearer answers to your prayers? In this study, we will look at a simple key to Bible interpretation that gives us three different things to do in our prayer life.
The key is to find the action underlying the verb of the word that you want to study.
This is easier to do with the languages of Hebrew and Aramaic, but it is also possible to find in Greek. We can do this study completely online, although using concordances and lexicons is also fairly easy to do. The site we will use is Bible Hub.
One of my favorite verses is found in Proverbs 3:
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
This is a great passage and tells us that we are not to lean to our own understanding, but to seek answers from the Lord, and then He will direct our steps.
This led me to learn what the action was for “trust.”
Start with the Hebrew
Trust is the Hebrew word, batach, Strong’s number 982. On the Bible Hub homepage, go to the section on the right that searches the Strong’s numbers.
After putting in 982 and clicking on the search choice for Strong’s Hebrew, we will find the definition from Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.
It says that batach has a similar word in Arabic that has an action: “to throw one down upon his face” or “to lie extended on the ground.”
This is the first key that we can learn about prayer – it involves throwing oneself into the presence of God and becoming convinced that he will deliver us.
Then Look Up Aramaic
The next step in this study is to look up the Aramaic word in the New Testament. One of the ways to do this is through an Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Database built by myself and my team at Light of the Word Ministry.
The whole database is there to search the Peshitta New Testament.
First, choose a verse with the word you’re looking for in it (you can use the English Word Search to see a full list from the New Testament).
Then, enter that verse into the Interlinear Search. We will choose Luke 6:12:
“And it happened [that] in those days Jesus went out to a mountain to pray. And there he spent the night in prayer to God.” Luke 6:12 (Aramaic Peshitta New Testament – APNT)
We find the word for “to pray” has the dictionary no. and root ID of 2106.
The third step is to enter that root ID/dictionary no. in the Lexicon Search (if you want a full list of verses in the New Testament with that particular Aramaic word, use the Word Study Search).
The action listed in the Dictionary Lexicon for this word tsela is “to incline toward, bend, turn aside, waver, seek, intend.”
This gives a very vivid mental picture of turning our minds and leaning into the mind of Christ, simply leaning toward God’s solution, not only his presence.
What is his perspective? What do I need to learn in this situation?
God is Faithful
An example recently for me helped me to learn this key to an even greater measure. I found out I needed an operation on my colon, and it turned into a four-month process of being in and out of the hospital.
After this period of time, God completely healed me and I am so thankful! But along the way, I had many serious discussions with the Lord about why this had happened and also what I should be thinking about.
God IS so faithful to answer these prayers when we lean into HIM and apply these keys.
If we keep reading in Luke 6, we see how Jesus applied that principle of prayer to choose his apostles.
And it happened [that] in those days Jesus went out to a mountain to pray. And there he spent the night in prayer to God. And when [day] dawned, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, those whom he named apostles:” Luke 6:12-13 APNT
End with Greek
The last key to look at is from the Greek word for petition or supplication, deesis, from deomai. The Strong’s number for the verb is 1189.
Go back to the Bible Hub homepage, and go to the section on the right that searches the Strong’s numbers.
On the Strong’s Greek page for 1189.decomai, in the left column there is a dictionary called “HELPS – Word Studies.”
That lists the definition: “to have deep personal need causing one to beseech (make earnest, specific request).”
This definition shows us the last key in our study. We need to make an urgent, specific request and appeal out of an acknowledgement of a need. This is a deep, personal need and that is what causes the heart to reach out with great urgency.
The noun from this verb is deesis, and it is often translated “supplication” in the King James Version.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 KJV (APNT breakdown)
The next verse promises that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 KJV
Put It All Together
There are many uses of all these words that can be delved into for further study. But with this simple study, we have learned that we should throw ourselves into the presence of God and become convinced that He will deliver us.
We should lean into the mind of Christ and lean towards God’s solution. Finally, we need to an urgent, specific request, and appeal to the Lord out of an acknowledgement of a need.
When we apply these three simple keys, we absolutely will have clearer answers to our prayers because God is faithful!
Jan Magiera is a renowned author of over 15 books, including the APNT. With over 38 years of academic study in the Aramaic Peshitta, Jan has unique insight into the Bible that shines through as she gives us insight into our walk with God. Learn more at Light of the Word Ministry.