Consider the prayer life of Jesus
Just prior to His preaching ministry He was in the wilderness for 40 days fasting and praying and being tempted by the devil. He gave thanks before the meal of miraculous fish and bread. In John 12, He prayed in front of the crowds: “Father, glorify your name!” He prayed His famous “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17. How often is He seen stealing away to be alone with His Father? He told Peter, “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you.” His prayer life did not end when He returned to Heaven.
The BIble says that right now He sits at the right hand of God and prays.
- “Christ Jesus” Romans 8:34 proclaims, “who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
- Hebrews 7:25 says, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through Him because He always lives to intercede for them.”
- He prays for us when we sin, as 1 John 2:2 says, “But if anybody does sin we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”
- Even Job understood that His Redeemer prayed. Listen to His confidence in chapter 16:19-21 that Someone in heaven was praying for Him: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friends.”
You know what a great question is that people may ask? It’s this: Why does Jesus pray? Why did He pray on earth and why does He pray in heaven even now? He was God, so He knew everything and could do anything, so why did He pray?
- He prayed on earth for His disciples for one thing.
- He prayed for Himself in His humanness that He would say what His Father wanted and do what His Father wanted.
- But think about this: He has always prayed. Prayer is communication with His Father. He and His Father have always existed and have always communicated. So, when He came to earth, prayer was a continuation of that Filial relationship. He prayed on earth, He prays now in Heaven, but, He has prayed in eternity past while face to face with His Father. Listen to what He prays in John 17:5, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” The Father and Son existed long before the world existed, and we ought not think that there was silence between the two before they created everything. It wasn’t like they finally had something to talk about once the world began. Prayer is a natural part of fellowship with God. How’s our prayer?
Can I say to you that you need to be praying more? With your spouse, your kids, your friends, your church? Each day that passes gets harder to live faithfully to Christ.
In Jesus’ Garden Prayer, we see an example for our prayer life. Jesus leads the 11 disciples to Gethsemane, which is a garden on the Mount of Olives, just east outside of Jerusalem. He tells 8 disciples to stay put and takes Peter, James, and John deeper into the Garden with Him. Then He tells them to stay put and pray and He goes deeper into the Garden alone. To pray. Three times He prays His Father would take away the cup of suffering. Three times He submits to His Father with those epic words, “Not my will but yours”. And three times He finds the disciples sleeping rather than praying.
Let me pull out 5 applications for our prayer life: 1) Pray in the Dark, 2) Pray Honestly, 3) Pray to Obey, 4) Pray with Others, 5) Pray When You Don’t Want To. If we pray like Jesus in the Garden, we will glorify God like Jesus.
#1: Pray in the Dark (32-34)
Prayer is how you keep seeing the light of heaven in a dark world.
Darkness came over Jesus’ soul. Stress was setting in as His death was overshadowing Him. Luke the doctor says in his Gospel, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” The days of happiness eating in people’s homes or attending weddings are gone. His hour of suffering is starting. What does He do? He does what He has always done: He prays.
When it gets dark, pray. It is significant that Jesus’ final act before His arrest was prayer. Before He was swallowed up by the darkness, He prayed. When He was in His darkest hour, He prayed. Daniel knew how to pray in the dark. Living in the dark land of Babylon he kept up his routine of praying 3 times per day. When evil came Daniel’s way he fell back on what he always did: he prayed. He prayed when the king was going to kill him and all the wise men. He prayed when the king forbade worship of anything but himself. Pray before its dark so that prayer will sustain you in the dark.
On the other hand, many do not make prayer part of their life. Sometimes it takes the dark clouds of life to get some Christians to take prayer seriously.
#2: Pray Honestly. (35-36)
We see the Deity of Jesus so often but we have to see Him in His humanness too. We see the humanity of Jesus. Stepped into the limitations of humanity. Weak, tired, hungry, distressed, pain. We see the Deity of Jesus. His will never wavered from that of the Father’s. He is the Servant of the Lord.
Notice how Jesus prays honestly. Look at verses 35 and 36 with me, “….” He’s honest with His Father. He takes His distress and troubles to His Father.
“Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7 says.
“Do not be anxious about anything” Philippians 4 says. “But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” So that’s what we’re supposed to do. Be honest with God about our anxieties and fears and weaknesses. Then Philippians says what God will do for us, “And the peace of God, which transcends understanding will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Here’s how to pray honestly: Whatever you’re willing to tell someone is burdening you turn it into a prayer and tell God too. This should happen most often in marriage.
Help someone do that too: If they are sharing a fear or weakness or burden with you they have then take the initiative with them to pray. Say, “Would it be okay if I prayed for you right now?” This should happen in marriage. Is there fear over finances? Over the direction a child or grandchild is going? Over health issues? Over work stress? Over politics? “Honey, let me pray for that right now”
#3: Pray to Obey. (36)
The Christian life is an obedient life. It is obedience that is the mark of fellowship, for, in obedience we are acting in God’s way, like God, being His companion in righteousness. Obedience, therefore, magnifies God, and minimizes all that opposes Him: evil, wickedness, sin, unrighteousness, and worldliness. Most of all, self, the habitat of all these.
And prayer is the secret to obedience. Pray to obey. There is going to be little obeying if there is little praying. Prayer leads you to conform to God’s will.
This is what “keep watch” means – it means to watch over yourself. Don’t let yourself slip in sin. Keep watch and watch out that you are not deceived by false teachers. Earlier we saw in Mark 13 Jesus said, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” After warning about false prophets He says, “So be on your guard.” So that the disciples would not let persecution cause them to sin He said, “You must be on your guard.” All of these are calls to prayer. The NT command to watch out is a prayer call. And that watching also means that we anticipate Jesus coming back, “Be on your guard! Be on alert, for you do not know when that time will come.”1 Thess 5, Rom 13,
“Thus as a human he prays in a human manner that the cup may pass away, but as God from God, his will is in unison with the Father’s” – Hilary of Poiters
#4: Pray with Others (34b, 37-38)
Notice Jesus enlists others to pray with Him. Luke says, “He said to them, “Pray that you do not fall into temptation.” The importance of praying with others is seen in the fact that at this very moment Jesus was telling them to pray. While He was going to pray for Himself He told them to be praying for themselves. I don’t know if there is room to think that they should have been also praying for Jesus. Luke says an angel came from heaven and strengthened Him. So perhaps that could have been the result of them praying for Jesus if in fact they were. But they weren’t. So maybe the angel came because they weren’t praying for Him!
Will we let heaven act alone to bless our loved ones? Will the resources of heaven come to those closest to us despite our failing to call them down? Husbands is God blessing your wife and your kids because of your prayers or because you’re not praying? Wives are your husbands and children’s names unheard in heaven because you’re silent? Are any blessings that come to your family only those that God initiates? Pray! And Pray with Others!
#1: Start by praying with your spouses. I said this before, and someone told me it hit them right between the eyes, so, I’ll say it again: Husbands: is there anyone who prays more for your wife and kids than you do? There shouldn’t be. Wives the same goes for you.
#2: Kids, you are not exempt from any obligations to pray for your parents. If you want to blow your parents away ask them if you can pray for them. Pray privately for them too.
#3: End phone conversations with “Let’s pray”
#4: Prayer blitz’s. Make an appointment with someone to pray either in person or over the phone. All you’re going to do is pray.
#5: Find a prayer partner here in church. Someone that is your “go-to” for prayer and that you pray for.
#6: Come to Wed evening prayer meeting
#7: Get a prayer plan. A prayer plan is a thought-out plan where you include praises, thanksgiving, confession, and then requests for all sorts of things like yourself, your spouse and kids, your church, salvations of lost people in your life, etc. If you are serious about praying and learning more about that, see me after church.
The point is: pray with others!
#5: Pray When You Don’t Want To (38-40)
Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne once said, “If I want to humble a man I will ask him about his prayer life.”
Jesus wasn’t just physically alone when He prayed, He was also the only one praying! Those were some sleepy disciples. The Disciples were sleepy. The largest obstacle to praying and keeping watch were their own bodies, their own flesh. If they did not pray, temptation would win the day. Remember they asked Him how they should pray and He taught them, “Lead us not into temptation”. Fundamental to prayer is asking God for help to resist temptation. That help only comes through prayer. What is going to happen if we don’t pray? We will be run over by temptation. People with besetting sins simply do not pray. I’ll stand on that.
They had done a lot of walking, a lot of eating, and they’d been on an emotional roller-coaster finding out all the drama that was happening. And Satan was working. But Jesus did not say “Oh, its okay not to pray, I get it boys.” “Are you still sleeping?! C’mon! Get up and pray! IF you knew what was at stake you would not be able to sleep”
The biggest obstacle to praying will be your unwilling flesh. Your sin-corrupted body that wants nothing to do with anything holy or truly spiritual. A Christian life that is marked by prayer is a life that is not controlled by the flesh so much as the spirit.
There is no trick to overcoming this. It’s just a matter of doing it. Actually here are a few tricks:
#1: Put it in your planner or on your calendar. Guard that 10 minutes or 30 minutes or whatever you carve out. Let nothing get in the way: no emails, phone calls, or busy work – nothing. Have a plan (see previous point!). That way you know what you’re going to
#2: It is not about how you “feel”. Do not fall for the trick that a planned out prayer session is not “authentic”. Just do it. If you don’t feel “all caught up in the Spirit” and if you don’t feel like you’re “into it”, just do it. There is value in doing it even when you don’t feel like it. There is value in teaching yourself the discipline of prayer. It is going to pay huge dividends. So don’t fall for the “I don’t feel it so I’m just going to wait for the “winds of inspiration to come around next month”.
Pray when you don’t feel like it.
CONCLUSION: Prayer Makes You Ready (41-42)
Jesus got up from prayer and was ready. He was ready for His cup to come. We also will only be ready if we pray.