What We Learn From Jesus’ Prayers

What We Learn From Jesus’ Prayers

Jesus is our ultimate example in everything we do.  Because that’s true, let’s look at some of the things the Scriptures tell us about Jesus and his prayer life.  The Bible tells us, “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 ESV).

We don’t know when Jesus uttered his first prayer.  We know that by the time he was baptized he was already practicing prayer: “When Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened” (Luke 3:21 ESV).  We do know when he uttered his last prayer: “Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46 ESV).  While in the flesh Jesus was a man of prayer to his dying breathe.

Although it seems that there were constantly crowds around Jesus, one is struck by the amount of time he prayed alone.  Matthew says, “After he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23 ESV).  Mark records, “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35 ESV; see also Mark 6:46). Luke tells us, “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16 ESV; see also Luke 6:12, 9:18 and 9:28). 

What did Jesus pray about?  I doubt that the Scriptures tell us everything he prayed about, but we do know the content of some of his prayers:

  • Jesus prayed prayers of thanksgiving: “Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted” (John 6:11 ESV). (see also Luke 10:21, John 11:41, Matthew 26:27 and many others)
  • Jesus prayed prayers for guidance: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.  And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles” (Luke 6:12–13 ESV).
  • Jesus prayed prayers of intercession for others: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 ESV). (see also Mark 10:16; Luke 22:31-34, 23:34; John 17:6-19, 20-26)
  • Jesus prayed in times of trouble: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.  Father, glorify your name” (John 12:27–28 ESV).

The pattern that we see in Jesus’ prayer life is that it was constant. He prayed early in the morning, before meals, when others needed help, when he faced trouble and all night.  He prayed for others and himself.  No matter how busy or stressful the situation was, Jesus prayed.  What a great lesson for us!  Do we need prayer less than Jesus?

2 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”

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