If we would know and understand the full blessing of the praying life, this should be our goal as believers: Pray as Jesus prayed. It is important that we should always be in an ‘attitude’ of prayer. Prayer is both an incredible privilege and an awesome responsibility. It can move the hand of God in situations where there is no other hope.
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mark 1:35 NKJV
To Jesus, it was critical to find time to be alone with the Father. He made this a priority. The Bible teaches us that we should be always in an ‘attitude’ of prayer. One of the coolest things about prayer is that we can pray while we are at work, in the home, or at our jobs. We can even pray while we are driving down the road. An attitude of prayer means that we are very much aware of the presence of God and that He is always listening.
“A fervent effective prayer avails much” (James 5:16) means that the most urgent smallest sentences are received with the same power as a prayer that is lengthy. “I believe” has the power to change your life.
Jesus often prayed in the morning. In fact, the Greek words here suggest that He prayed a long time before daylight. He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” Jesus chose the early morning hour for prayer. In the morning hour the mind is fresh and at its absolute best, free from distraction, free from everyday disturbing affairs. The first thing we should do each day should be to go alone with God and face the duties, temptations, and service of that day, and get strength from God for all.
In Luke 6:12, we get further insight into when to pray: “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God.” Here we see Jesus spending the entire night in prayer. We have no reason to suppose that this was the constant practice of our Lord, but there were certainly times when the whole night was given up to prayer.
Here, too, we do well to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. In the night hours we can have undisturbed communion with Him. There will be time for our hearts to become quiet before God, time for the whole mind to be brought under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, plenty of time to pray things through.
Below are a few events and times that the Bible describes Jesus praying to His Father in Heaven.
Jesus prayed for guidance in places of quiet solitude – “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)
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
- Jesus prayed for His disciples and for all believers -“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-the name you gave me-so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11).
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:20-21).
- Jesus prayed in praise to God, the Father – “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure’” (Luke 10:21).
- Jesus prayed prayers of thanksgiving – “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body’” (Mark 14:22).
- Jesus prayed in a posture and with an attitude of reverent submission – “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39).
- Jesus prayed in times of anguish – “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’–which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).
Another example of how Jesus prayed may be found in “The Lord’s Prayer” located in Matthew 6:5-15. This is the time when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray.
Jesus loved His Father and communicated with Him often. He prayed for wisdom and guidance in His earthly ministry. He prayed for others to come to know Him as Savior and Lord. He prayed for the twelve disciples, that God would protect them from “the evil one.” Jesus prayed for God to strengthen their ministry once He departed from them. He prayed with honesty and reverence. He prayed with joy and praise. But most of all, Jesus prayed with expectation. He knew the Father heard His prayers and would respond.
Imagine that as Jesus went out to pray by himself, he quietly invited you to join him in his secret place. Try to picture Jesus at prayer. Where would his attention be? What would be the expression on his face? What would his posture be? Quietly remain with him.
Then, when he finishes, imagine yourself in a conversation with Jesus about your own prayer life. Speak to him about the way in which you presently pray. Then ask him what he would look for from you. What is his goal for your private prayer? What more would he desire from you in this area of your life? How do you respond to him?
Can you picture the moment: Jesus was alone, in the dark, while others were asleep? Before others would demand His time, He was praying, talking with the Father. Jesus did not have a special time or moment He talked to the Father. He spent every waking moment fellowshipping with His heavenly Father.
Where did He go? To a lonely, desolate place. Why? Because He wanted to be away from people, noise, and all the activities of normal life. He looked for a place where He truly could be alone to pray. Is this a pattern of your life, just being along with Jesus to pray?
How easily we can allow prayer to become a secondary priority. We can pray just when it is convenient for us or when it fits into our daily schedule. We can pray only in places where we conduct our daily activities, even when such places are filled with distractions.
But if we genuinely want to hear from God and draw closer to Him, we should follow the example provided by Jesus. We need to find a time when we will not be interrupted, or distracted, when there is an opportunity to hear from God and spend quality time in fellowship with Him. And we need to find a place to pray where we can be free from the congestion and noise of the world.
Here are four vital truths about prayer.
- Prayer is your connection to the Creator and Sustainer of life –your link to life!
- Prayer is sharing with God that enriches your daily life with eternal vitality.
- Prayer is the barometer measuring your closeness to God.
- Prayer is key to understanding yourself.
God commands prayer, and Jesus prayed – often even leaving the work of preaching the Gospel and healing the sick to pray! Understanding prayer helps us value prayer as God intends.
Today, remember that God longs to spend time with you. He is ready to speak to you, teach you His Word, give you understanding and wisdom, fill you with His power, and His Spirit, and bless you with greater resources. He wants to help solve your problems and relieve your burdens.
Make it a priority to seek God in places and at times when your mind and heart are free from distractions. Concentrate on Him and let Him speak to you. Find a “solitary place”!
Become quiet before God, time for the whole mind to be brought under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, plenty of time to pray things through.
Jesus Christ gave time to prayer when life was unusually busy. We read in Luke 5:15-16, “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Some people are so busy that they find no time for prayer. Apparently, the busier Christ’s life was, the
Men of God whose prayers are recorded for us in the Bible never read a book on prayer, never went to a seminar on prayer, never heard a sermon on prayer. They just prayed.
more He prayed. The more the work presses on us, the more time must we spend in prayer.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we read, “Pray without ceasing.” Our whole life should be a life of prayer. We should walk in constant communion with God. We should walk so habitually in His presence that even when we awake in the night it would be the most natural thing in the world for us to speak to Him in thanksgiving or petition.
Satan fears prayer because God hears prayer. Satan will stop at nothing to distract a person from praying or to get him to postpone praying or, failing to do that, to discourage him in his praying. Do not allow Satan to distract you from praying, and during the Will of God.
I simply want to encourage you to start. Start praying where you are, as you are, about whatever concerns you, about whatever is lying most heavily on your heart, about whatever is irritating or frustrating you at present.
Be pointed. Be persistent. Be patient. But pray.