Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Things about the Prayer Life of Christ (Part 1)

1. He prayed to His Father. His prayer life was based on a relationship with His Father. The fact that He prayed to His Father reveals the intimacy of His relationship with His Father. His prayers were not just grocery-listing God, as mine so often are—please do this, and please do that, and don’t forget this and I need this. His prayers were so much more than that. He was spending time with someone that He knew intimately, that He loved, and longed to spend time with.t occurs to me that Psalm 27:4, is something Jesus could have said:

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Jesus had that longing to be with His father. So His prayers were birthed out of a relationship with His Father.

2. Prayed often. He prayed a lot. Not just a little, but a lot. Sometimes He got away from the crowd for the express purpose of praying; but other times, you find Him praying in the course of His daily activity and routine. As you read through the Gospels, you see that key moments of His life were marked by prayer: His baptism, the choosing the Twelve, the Mount of Transfiguration, the feeding of the 5000, the Garden of Gethsemane, on the cross, these are key moments that were marked by prayer. 

But He also prayed in the not-so-key-moments as a way of life. He prayed after full day of ministry, when he was tired. As a man He was at times weary as could be (John 4:6). He prayed before starting new day of ministry, with people pressing in on Him and things to do and places to go. He prayed as part of every day life. Every occasion was an occasion for prayer—for communication with His Father, keeping that line open. No event, no happening, no detail was too great or too small to be a matter of prayer. He lived praying and died praying. He prayed often. It was a way of life for Him.

3. He prayed alone, and He prayed in company with others.
In Luke 5:15 we see an instance where we're told Jesus prayed alone with His Father.

Now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray (vv. 15-16).

So at times He left the crowd—He left the press and the the responsibilities, deadlines, and demands. It was an intentional act on His part. He went to desolate places where He wouldn’t be interrupted or distracted, and He prayed. We also know there were moments when He went to those desolate places and He was trying to get alone and the crowds followed Him.

One thing I love about the Savior is He always had time for others, even when He was trying to be alone. I find myself sometimes when I have those desolate places that I want to study and seek the Lord, the crowd comes in and I can get irked about the very people the Lord has sent for me to serve. Those of you who have little children, you know hard it is to ever really get away from the crowd. Sometimes getting away to a desolate place doesn’t mean you send them to camp or you leave home for a week. Sometimes it means that in the midst of the crowd you find a quiet place in your heart.

Jesus knew how to do that also, to be serene in the midst of a crowd. He prayed when He was alone with His Father, but He also prayed in public settings. Luke 3 tells us that He prayed at His baptism. John 6 tells us that at the feeding of the 5000, He raised His eyes towards heaven and gave thanks—a very public setting. John 11, at the tomb of Lazarus, He prayed. So, he prayed in public settings.

Then, He prayed with His disciples. I have to believe that apart from the times He prayed alone with His Father, those times praying with His disciples must have been very special for Him and for them.

Luke 11 says, Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

So Jesus was with His disciples. They were seeing Him pray. They were hearing Him pray. They were somehow around when He was praying, so they were motivated to say, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

And he said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come"” (vv. 1-2).

He took with him His disciples into the place of prayer. You see see this again on the Mount of Transfiguration in Luke 9, “He took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray” (v. 28). He took them with Him. He prayed with them.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, He was with His disciples. When He went to pray, He moved a stone's throw away, but the way He was praying was earnestly. I can't help but believe that the disciples knew what was going on. They could see Him, likely. They perhaps could hear Him as He was praying.

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