Jesus, Man Of Prayer
By Alvin J. VanderGriend
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed" (Mark 1:35).
"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16).
"Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God" (Luke 6:12).
No person ever prayed as Jesus did. Prayer was absolutely central to everything in Jesus’ life. E. M. Bounds says of Jesus, "Prayer was the secret of His power, the law of His life, the inspiration of His toil, and the source of His wealth, His joy, His communion, and His strength." The Gospels contain no less than eighteen references to Jesus’ prayer life, fourteen distinct prayer themes on which He taught, and eight actual prayers.
In some ways it is surprising to think that prayer was necessary for Jesus. After all, He is the Son of God, the very one who today hears and answers our prayers. But prayer was necessary for Jesus during the days of His ministry on earth because He was truly human and shared wholly in our humanity, except that He did not sin. In taking our limitations on Himself, He accepted even the limitation of depending on the Father and having to communicate with God in prayer.
Jesus clearly loved to pray. For Him it was a lifestyle. He prayed at every major milestone of His life: at His baptism in the river Jordan, before calling His disciples, before being transfigured, before the Lord’s Supper, before the cross, on the cross, as He died, and before He ascended into heaven. Jesus prayed at moments of joy (Luke 10:21) and when His heart was troubled (John 12:27-28). He gained victories in advance through prayer (John 11:41-42) and averted temptation after His victories through prayer (John 6:15). He prayed so much that He had a reputation as a man of prayer (Matt. 19:13).
Jesus’ prayer life was full of variety. He prayed early in the morning, at the end of a long day, and often in between. He prayed in solitary places, on mountainsides, in the wilderness, in a garden, and indoors. One time He is described as kneeling in prayer (Luke 22:41), at another time prostrate (Matt. 26:39), and at another time standing with eyes fixed on heaven (John 11:41). He prayed in private (Luke 9:18) and in public (John 11:41-42).
Jesus also knew how to listen in prayer. In John 7:16 He says, "My teaching… comes from Him who sent Me." And later He noted that the Father commanded Him "what to say and how to say it," and that whatever He said was just what the Father had told Him to say (John 12:49-50).
Jesus’ prayer life did not end with His earthly journey. Today He "is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us" (Rom. 8:34). And "because He always lives to intercede" for us, He is able to save us completely (Heb. 7:25).
Do you want to be like Jesus? Then learn to pray like Jesus! There is no better way to pray.
* If someone wrote a brief history of your life, would prayer be a prominent theme in it? Consider what areas of your prayer life most need improving if you are to become more like Jesus.
* What kind of priority do you think Jesus wants prayer to have in your life?
Praise Jesus for modeling a strong, positive pattern of prayer for us.
Confess any shortcoming in prayer that you are aware of by comparing your prayer life to that of Jesus.
Thank the Holy Spirit for His ability and willingness to purify our prayers and to help us when we don’t know how to pray very well (Rom. 8:26).
Ask Christ for the grace to pray as He prayed.
Read and meditate on the Scripture passages referenced in today’s devotional reading. As you read each reference, ask the Lord what He wants you to learn from it and to take into your own prayer life.
– Taken from Love to Pray, by Alvin VanderGriend. Copyright 2003 and used by permission of the author.
Love to Pray is a 95-page booklet, "a 40-Day Devotional for deepening your prayer life." In the preface of the booklet, the author, Alvin VanderGriend, writes: "This booklet is written for persons who want to learn to love to pray. It’s intended to help you grow strong in prayer, to gain more from prayer, and to pray more effectively for those around you….Life’s greatest privilege is to know God and to commune with Him, the great God of the universe. You can do that anytime, anywhere, in prayer. May God bless you richly as you embark on this adventure of learning to love to pray."
If your desire is to grow stronger in prayer, Herald of His Coming invites you to write us for a free copy of Love to Pray. Through the kindness of the author, we have been able to purchase these booklets very reasonably. We do, however, have a limited quantity and ask that you request only one copy. You may write to:
Herald of His Coming
P.O. Box 279
Seelyville IN 47878 U.S.A.