Jesus: A Man of Prayer - A Model for Prayer

Prayer was a crucial part of Jesus’ life, not a supplement to his ministry on earth. As believers, we know that prayer is crucial. Unfortunately for many of us, prayer is gradually becoming supplemental in our lives.  It is easy to justify the lack of prayer by the busyness of our lives, jobs, family, and kids. All this can really overwhelm us to the point of just barely squeezing a three-minute prayer at bedtime as we doze off to sleep. Jesus was both a man of prayer and a model for prayer. His ministry began with prayer, he prayed before important decisions, he prayed in the midst of his ministry for perseverance, he prayed on the Cross, and he prays for us today.  His disciples saw how important prayer was in the life and ministry of Jesus and integrated it in their lives.

There is no better foundation to build on than prayer!

Jesus’ ministry was born in prayer.  In (Luke 3:21-22) we read , “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, 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.” Jesus faced temptation with prayer. In Luke 4:1-2 we see that while he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by the devil he ate nothing during those days. In other words, Jesus was praying and fasting as he victoriously battled with the devil himself! These two verses personally speak to me, since they remind me how important it is to be well rooted in prayer as I decide to start or begin anything in my life, from a ministry, business or even an exercise regimen standpoint. There is no better foundation to build on than prayer!

Prayer was not only the starting base for the ministry of Jesus, but also what continued to sustain and connect him to his heavenly Father as he demonstrated his power through his Son.  Luke 5:15-16 shows us that while Jesus was in the middle of preaching and healing, he would slip away into the wilderness to pray! This reading illustrates the dependency that Christ had on his Father while in ministry. Christ was doing what he was called to do, but in the midst of this he would slip away to be with his Father! 

What a great lesson can we gain from this reading; can we say that while we are in the midst of doing something very important such as doing God’s work that we slip away to seek our Father?  It is so important to take time out and come to our Father in prayer as we are in the midst of serving him in ministry and anything else for that matter, since it is so easy to “run on empty” in other words, we can actually do ministry and serve others without the spiritual sustenance and guidance of the Holy Spirit that stems from seeking our Father in prayer. 

Since choices can make an eternal and everlasting impact in our lives and the lives of others, Jesus was careful to seek His Father’s divine guidance and direction before He made them.

Christ continues to show us his reliance on his heavenly Father through prayer. He knew that his leading and decision making hinged on seeking his Father's divine guidance and direction.  For example, Christ sought his Father in prayer when it came to choosing the twelve apostles from the disciples.  Luke 6:12-13 says, “It was this 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.”  

Unfortunately, when it comes to making decisions and choices we tend to rely on our own knowledge, and if that doesn’t have an agreeable outcome, then we seek our Father’s guidance as plan B. Our decisions and choices can make an eternal and everlasting impact in our lives and the lives of others, shouldn’t we be careful to seek our Father’s divine guidance and direction before we make them?  

Christ correlates praying to perseverance and steadfastness, in other words prayer helps us not give up!!

In addition to Christ’s own personal thirst for prayer, his disciples had many opportunities to see his devotion to prayer.  Luke 9:18 relates, “…while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him…” Luke 9:28 begins, “…He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.” (Luke 18:1) Christ correlates prayer to perseverance and steadfastness, in other words prayer helps us not give up!! – “Now He was telling the a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.”  

They realized that Christ’s prayer life was not some religious ritual!

They saw Jesus prayer life was alive and powerful, I can see why the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray!  Lets face it, it’s not like the disciples didn’t know about prayer, many of them were good Jewish men that where raised praying in the synagogues and knew the religious ways of praying.  

But they saw a difference when it came to their prayer life and Christ’s prayer life, such a difference that it moved them to ask Christ, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke11: 1). They realized that Christ’s prayer life was not some religious ritual, and the disciples caught it! Since we can see in the book of Acts, (Acts 1:14): “…they were all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer…” (Acts 4:24): “...When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God.” (Acts 4:31): “...After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”  The disciples definitely got hold of the significance and power of prayer through Christ’s example, and it showed! How about us, are we setting an example to our younger generation? Do our children see us pray? 

Jesus is interceding for us!!

So we see that Christ was all about prayer, from the beginning of his ministry, to the time where he ministered to the disciples, and even at the end of his ministry where he prayed and interceded in prayer for the disciples, (and for us now for that matter). Jesus warned, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).  Imagine looking into the eyes of Jesus, as he says that he is praying for you?!? He is! Paul writes, “…He who is at the right hand of God, intercedes for us…” (Romans 8:34).

Again, from the beginning to the end of his ministry Jesus prayed! Even at the cross He took his last breath in prayer (Luke 23:46): “…. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.  Having said this, He breathed His last breath”

So I ask:  Why should we pray? Better yet why was prayer so important to Jesus?

Jesus himself answers that question: (John 5:19): “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 14:10): “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father abiding in me does His works.” 

“Is there anything that Jesus did through his life and ministry on earth the he did apart from the Father?”

So maybe the question should be rephrased from “Why should we pray?”  or “Why was prayer so important to Jesus?” to “Is there anything that Jesus did through his life and ministry on earth the he did apart from the Father?”  As a man of prayer, Jesus is saying to us that he is completely dependent on the Father! In fact, that just as Jesus did nothing without his Father, so are we apart from Christ can do nothing! (John 15:5): “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” And how can we remain in him and he in us if we don’t pray!

That’s why Jesus prayed all the time!! 

That begs the question: if Jesus is the son of God, God and flesh, and he found it necessary to come before the Father day after day after day in prayer, because he was constantly dependent on him, then what does that say about us?

The core root connection in prayer is: We can do nothing by ourselves; we can do nothing without him!  The Christian life is designed to be absolutely impossible on our own.

So why should we pray? Because just as Christ could do nothing without his Father, we can do nothing without Christ, and that’s why we should pray!

By Phillip Martinez (message inspired by Lifeline: Power Through Prayer by David Platt)