Jesus provides a wonderful picture of the power of prayer. His life revolved around it; His ministry would not have been effective if it hadn’t been for His commitment to prayer.
I often forget this about Jesus. It’s only been in recent years studying the Bible that I realised that Jesus was fully human. I had lived thinking He was God, so Jesus could do anything.
Jesus was only able to do what He did and fulfil His mission because of prayer. In living as a human for 33 years, Jesus provided the example for us to live by: be people of prayer.
Let’s have a quick look at some of the aspects of His prayer life. Some of this post I wrote 6 months ago, so some of you may be familiar with what follows. But I thought it useful to re-post it.
Scripture tells us Jesus prayed constantly:
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
Sometimes, well often, we can get overly religious about our prayer times. I’m a person that likes routine so getting up each morning works for me. For others, it might be in the car driving to work, or college, or before you go to bed at night. It might be escaping to the bush, or sitting on a park bench, or walking along a deserted beach whilst walking your dog.
What’s best for you is what works for you. Don’t think just because your pastor has his prayer time walking along the beach, means you’ve got to.
Try some different things. You’ll find a place and a time that’s just right for you.
Jesus didn’t just pray through night and early morning. He was a man who prayed continually through His day.
“Now when all the people were baptised, Jesus was also baptised, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NASB)
Wow. Jesus prayed and “heaven was opened”. What if He hadn’t prayed?
Are you struggling at the moment with seeking new direction or fresh input in your life?
“It was at that time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles;” (Luke 6:12-13 NASB)
The Father guided Jesus in naming the 12 disciples. In this past week I’ve been praying about seeking fresh input into writing and learning. Incredibly, this afternoon out of the blue I get a phone call from a friend of a friend who asks me to join a new writing group he’s starting.
Is there something you’re putting off for whatever reason?
At the Garden of Gethsemane we get a glimpse of Jesus in prayer. Here we see Him wrestle with His humanness. Who in their right mind would hand themselves over to the authorities for an offense they didn’t commit? Not to mention an excruciating death as punishment.
We’re told He sweated blood. It was that intense, physically.
So He did what He’d do all of His life: relied on His Father who had never let Him down. The Father gave Him the courage and strength to proceed.
Oh, to have that faith? But prayer helps us get that faith. The Spirit intercedes to equip us with courage and strength. If only we pray.
When we look at how Jesus prayed, I’m struck by how short His prayers were.
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46)
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
The disciples never asked Jesus to show them how to perform miracles. He simply commanded them to do it. They didn’t ask Jesus to teach them how to preach or teach.
But they did ask Him to teach them how to pray.
His response: The Lord’s Prayer.
Less than 60 words.
Don’t think we need eloquent or lengthy prayers. Follow Jesus example. Short, simple and gutsy.
I like to repeat short prayers over and over. Something happens in my spirit when I do this. I’m better able to let go off the stuff that’s running through my mind so I can meditate on God.
“I trust you Jesus. You are my hope.”1
I struggle with all of the above most days. But I keep coming back.
I love this quote from Andrew Murray:
“The enemy uses all his power to lead the Christian – and above all, the minister – to neglect prayer. Satan knows that however admirable the sermon may be, however, attractive the service, however faithful the pastoral visitation, none of these things can damage him or his kingdom if prayer is neglected.”2
That’s why prayer can be a battle. The enemy knows what happens when people pray.
What are some of the things you do to keep yourself praying?
Enjoy your weekends.
Note 1: Jesus Today, Sarah Young Thomas Nelson 2012 p72. 2. Living a Prayerful Life, Andrew Murray, Bethany House 2002 p 28