Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Things about the Prayer Life of Christ (Part 3)

7. Jesus prayed much right before the Cross. He prayed much in particular during those days. In Luke 22, you see Jesus in Gethsemane. We hear Jesus praying on the cross.

I want to take a look for a moment here at John 17, the high priestly prayer of Jesus, the real Lord's prayer, that Jesus prayed in the upper room in Gethsemane. This is an intimate look into the prayer life of Christ. Let me just give you an outline for that chapter: He prayed for Himself (Jn 17:1-5). He prayed for His disciples (Jn 17:6-19). He said, “Keep them in your name, that they may be one, even as we are one” (v. 11), “Keep them from the evil one” (v. 15), “Sanctify them in the truth” (v. 17). He prayed first for Himself, then He prayed for His disciples.

Then, I love this, He prayed for us!

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word [that's us!], that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory (vv. 20-26).

Think of Jesus praying those things for us. It shows His heart that He prayed for others when He might understandably have been consumed with His own needs. He prayed for Himself, He prayed for His disciples, He prayed for us, but above all—in His prayer life during that passion week and throughout His life—He prayed for the glory of God, for the will of God to be done.

Just after praying that prayer in John 17, He said to disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation” (Mt 26:41). Isn’t it interesting that the disciples slept and fell into temptation; Jesus prayed and He overcame temptation. He conquered sin and death. He purchased our salvation.

I wonder what difference it would make in our lives if we prayed instead of sleeping. Of course sleep is a good gift, too. There's a time to sleep, but there’s a time to wake up and pray.

8. Jesus prayed earnest, passionate prayers. I think sometimes our prayers put God to sleep, if that we're possible. He must be up there wondering do they really care whether I do what they're asking. Does this really matter to them? I think God could think that way about a lot of my prayers.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence (Hebrews 5:7).

9. Even when He was abandoned by His God, and God refused to answer, He still prayed. We know that Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm. It's words that Jesus prayed from the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest” (vv. 1-2).

When Jesus became sin for us, God turned His back on Him. But Jesus kept praying. In the darkest and bleakest hour of His life, He demonstrated, through His prayers from the cross, faith that God was still there. Even when He couldn't feel or couldn't sense it.

Praise God. For those who are in Christ, God will never forsake and abandon us. But at times it feels as if He has. We cannot sense His presence, cannot see what He is doing. The question is, will we, like Jesus, keep on praying anyway?

10. Jesus is still praying. He continues praying for us today in heaven. He prayed throughout His earthly life. He prayed throughout His passion. He prayed on the cross. He's still praying! He hasn't stopped praying. “He always lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God” (Hebrew 7:25). Romans 8:34 tells us that He is “at the right hand of God, interceding for us.”

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