But he withdrew himself in the deserts and prayed (auto de hn upocwrwn en tai erhmoi kai proseucomeno). Periphrastic imperfects. Literally, "But he himself was with drawing in the desert places and praying." The more the crowds came as a result of the leper's story, the more Jesus turned away from them to the desert regions and prayed with the Father. It is a picture of Jesus drawn with vivid power. The wild enthusiasm of the crowds was running ahead of their comprehension of Christ and his mission and message. Hupocwrew (perhaps with the notion of slipping away secretly, upo-) is a very common Greek verb, but in the N.T. occurs in Luke alone. Elsewhere in the N.T. anacwrew (to go back) appears.