“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 went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings.” Hebrews 10:19-22
The lifestyle of Jesus teaches us volumes on the priority that prayer should have in our life. As we read through the New Testament gospels, we see that Jesus made prayer central to everything that he did. We see Jesus praying in solitary places, on the mountainsides, in the Garden, and in the wilderness. He took different postures of prayer, often! He prayed in the early morning, through the night, in times of joy, and in times of trouble. He prayed prior to major events in his life: at his baptism (Luke 3:21), before his daily work of preaching and healing (Mark 1:35), and in his temptation (Matthew 26:42).
But, why would Jesus, the Son of God (Matthew 27:54), the Word of God (John 1:10), have to pray?
In Philippians and Hebrews, we read that Jesus humbled himself and was made in human likeness, taking on man’s limitations and accepting complete submission to God the Father! Jesus was truly man and shared wholly in our humanity, except he was without sin. As Jesus accepted this kind of dependence on the Father, he had to communicate with God in prayer.
The book of John makes it very clear that Jesus, “who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart” (John 1:18). All Jesus’ teaching comes from God (John 7:16). Jesus speaks only what the Father has commanded him (John 12:49-50). Everything that Jesus gave his disciples came from the Father (John 17:7). These passages make clear to us that Jesus listened carefully to the Father in prayer. In prayer, God revealed His will to Jesus and enjoyed intimate fellowship.
Jesus modeled prayer for us, but it did not stop there. As the sacrificial Lamb, His flesh was torn and the veil removed, so that we too could have fellowship with the Father (Hebrews 10:19-20). But it did not stop there, He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, who guides us into all truth and intercedes for us. But it did not stop there, Jesus, our Great High Priest, intercedes for us always (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus loves us and has provided a way for us to have intimate fellowship with the Father! I urge you to take hold of the gift and pray continuously. He is calling you.
Prayer: I praise You, Awesome God, for the gift of prayer. Give me the grace to pray like Jesus. “Hear me as I pray, O LORD. Be merciful and answer me! My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming’” (Psalm 27:7-8). Amen.