When Jesus Prayed --
Dear fellow disciple-maker,
Do you think of prayer as a last resort? Or, do you see prayer as the most exciting ministry for God's people today? Andrew Murray wrote, "Prayer is the most dynamic opportunity available to God's children. It not only strengthens our own faith, it also enables us to intercede for others. It is difficult to conceive how much we will gain if, with our whole heart, we accept the honor God is offering us. God is a prayer-hearing God. Our chief and most blessed work is to ask and receive from our Father what we can bring to others."
It is important to note that the great events of Jesus life were all connected with prayer. This fact alone should help us realize the necessity of absolute dependence on God in every aspect of our life. Jesus clearly demonstrated that it is foolish and fruitless to attempt to do the work of God without making prayer the foundation of our lives and ministries. In short, whatever we are not praying about, we are doing ourselves.
When did Jesus pray?
Consider what the following Scriptures say about the role of prayer in Jesus' life. At our Lord's baptism, we read, "When Jesus was praying the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him..." (Luke 3:21-22). Early in his ministry Mark records "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place and there he prayed" (Mark 1:35).
Somewhat later we learn that large crowds came together to hear him and be healed. Nevertheless, "he would withdraw to desolate places and pray" (Luke 5:16). Jesus knew how his ministry of teaching, healing and caring for people could exhaust the spirit. He simply would not allow his interaction with men to cloud his fellowship with God.
On the night before choosing His apostles we read, "In those days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12). The first step toward selecting the men who would be his successors and leaders of his church was a special night of prayer. During his time in prayer, God showed him who to choose.
In the night between the feeding of the five thousand, when Jesus knew that they wanted to take Him by force and make Him their King, and his miracle of walking on the water, "he went up on the mountain to pray" (Mark 6:46).
Our Lord's first announcement of his approaching death were preceded with the words, "Now it happened that he was praying alone" (Luke 9:16). He was praying before his Transfiguration (Luke 9:29). When the disciples asked him to teach them to pray, Jesus was himself praying and they simply waited for him to finish (Luke 11:1).
At the end of his earthly life Jesus prayed at Lazarus' tomb (John 11:41-42). In the upper room he prayed for the unity of his disciples (John 17). In the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed a prayer of surrender (Luke 22:41-44). On the cross he prayed a prayer of compassion for his murderers (Luke 23:34). And finally, just before he died, he resigned his spirit to his Father in prayer (Luke 23:46).
Christ's life, work, suffering and death was bathed in prayer. It was all
dependence on God, trust in God, receiving from God, and surrendering to God.
Christ is a praying Christ and the life He lived for us and the life he lives in
us is a praying life. To pray in His Name is to pray as He prayed. Christ is our
example because He is our Lord, our Savior and our Life.
What people will you meet today? Have you prayed for them?
What ministries are you involved in? Have you prayed about them?
What decisions do you need to make today? Have you prayed?
We can pray in His Name because "we abide in him and he in us" (John 15:7). As you begin a new year, spend some time calling upon the name of the Lord. What a privilege to have a prayer-hearing God!
Author:Paul Schlieker www.bible-study-lesson-plans.com
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