What can be learned from the prayers Jesus prayed?
Jesus taught us the importance of prayer, the object of prayer, and much about how to pray.
Jesus often spent time with God the Father by going away from His followers (Luke 5:16). This should teach us the necessity of spending time praying. We are invited and encouraged to talk with God (Hebrews 4:16).
When His disciples asked Him how to pray, Jesus gave them a simple prayer as a model. Luke 11:1–4 records, "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.' And he said to them, 'When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation'" (see also Matthew 6:9–13).
Jesus teaches that we should address God as "Father" and honor Him. The first request is that God's will is done, then He models for us asking for what we need in the immediate, then our relationship with Him and others, and then help in seeking righteousness.
Jesus prayed His longest recorded prayer, known as the high priestly prayer, in John 17 as He interceded for His disciples and for those who would come to believe in Him (i.e., us!). The themes of that prayer are the joy (John 17:13), protection (John 17:15), sanctification (John 17:17), and unity (John 17:21–23) of the His followers. Should we not pray the same?
Jesus also prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21–22), the night before He chose the apostles (Luke 6:12), as He fed the 5,000 (Luke 9:16) and the 4,000 (Matthew 15:36), and during the transfiguration (Luke 9:29).
When He approached the tomb of His friend Lazarus, He prayed (John 11:41–42). Jesus said this prayer was specifically for the benefit of those who heard it, so they would know the Father had heard Him.
Jesus prayed as He prepared for His trial and crucifixion (John 12:28; Matthew 26:36–46) and while He suffered on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:34, 46).
Jesus regularly prayed prayers of thanksgiving, and we are to do the same (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; Philippians 4:6–7).
Remember, too, that Jesus still prays for us (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 834; 1 John 2:1).
Study these moments and the prayers of Jesus. See how important prayer was in His life. Notice the types of things He communicates to the Father. One thing Jesus continues to communicate through His prayers is a steady reliance upon His relationship with the Father. We, too, have the privilege of prayer (Hebrews 4:14–16; Ephesians 6:18). There is no question that Jesus was a man of prayer or that we are called to be people of prayer.
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