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Jesus, Man of Prayer

“Whatever it takes, Lord, make me a man of prayer.” Have you ever asked the Lord to do that in your life?

As the perfect Man of Prayer, we can lean on Jesus to atone for our sins of prayerlessness; but we should also look to Jesus to produce in us a life of prayerfulness.

There were many things Jesus never needed to pray about. He didn’t need to confess his sins, or fight against evil desires within himself; he never had to pray that he would become more loving, or more kind, or more gentle, or more patient.

Yet even though Jesus did not need to pray in some of the ways we most need to pray, there was never a man who was more constantly in prayer than Jesus. Of all the titles for which we give him praise, this needs to be added to our worship vocabulary: Jesus, Man of Prayer.

The Gospel writers treat Jesus’s prayer life with a “sacred reserve,” a holy hush (James Stalker). But like a fountain leaping high into the air, revealing that there is a hidden spring fueling it, when we see Jesus praying in the Gospels, we realize that prayer was the undercurrent of his life. This was the secret source of power to his entire ministry. Everything he said and did flowed out of his prayer life. I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that Jesus’s life was a ceaseless concert of prayer.

Consider who Jesus is, and then consider who you are: if Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we?

Let’s trace this vital thread as Luke weaves it throughout his Gospel.

  • Luke 3:21-22 | At his baptism, Jesus prayed and the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove. Jesus depended on the Holy Spirit to empower him for his ministry. How much more do we need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment on our lives and ministries. Brothers & sisters, let us pray!
  • Luke 4:1-2 | Jesus’s temptation by Satan in the wilderness was preceded by forty days of fasting, and presumably, prayer. This is how Jesus fortified himself to foil the Tempter’s power. We too are called to resist the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour—so let us pray!
  • Luke 4:38-42 & 5:15-16 | Jesus had no privacy. People were always crowding around him, seeking something from him. Sometimes he was so busy he hardly had time to eat or sleep—but he always found time to pray. It was in prayer that his spirit was composed and strengthened by the Father to minister to the needs of others. Ask yourself, when you think you are too busy to pray: If Jesus found time to pray in periods of great stress and busyness, how much more must I? Am I too busy to pray, or am I too busy not to pray?
  • Luke 6:12 | Before choosing his twelve apostles, Jesus spent the entire night in prayer to his Father. Are you facing a momentous decision? Will you bathe that decision in prayer?
  • Luke 9:18, 28-29 | Before making himself known to his disciples in all his splendor and glory, Jesus was found seeking his Father in prayer. Before we introduce other people to Christ, we should be praying that God will reveal Christ to them; in order for the glory of Christ to be seen shining through us, we must spend time the presence of his glory in prayer.
  • Luke 10:17-21 | When the ministry of his seventy-two disciples succeeds, and they return with joy to Jesus, he immediately turns to his Father and praises him, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit for the mighty works God is doing. Is that your response when God blesses your efforts to minister in Christ’s name?
  • Luke 11:1 | His example of prayer was so compelling, a disciple asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (not, “Teach us to preach”). In the end, what would you most like to be known by? Could there be any higher aim than to be known for your nearness to God? “Certainly if we are his, if we love him, if we live for him, and if we live close to him, we will catch the contagion of his praying life, both on earth and in heaven” (E.M. Bounds).
  • Luke 22:31-32 | Jesus prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail when Satan demanded to sift him like wheat. I wonder, was that the difference between Peter, whose faith was restored, and Judas, who committed final apostasy? Praise the Lord for his ministry of intercession on our behalf!
  • Luke 22:39-49 & 23:34, 46 | It was in the Garden that Jesus prepared himself to pay the price of our redemption, and he died on the Cross in a spirit of prayer. Realize how in many ways, we owe our salvation to the prayer life of Jesus!

But thank God, he has not stopped praying, even now! He is a great High Priest, whose name is Love, whoever lives and pleads for us. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). So, brothers and sisters, let us pray!

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
the Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters Heaven with prayer.

Learning to live and love the praying life,
Pastor David Sunday