Jesus often separated himself from the people and stole away to a private place in order to spend time in prayer. While here on earth, He felt the need to speak privately with His Father. There are at least nineteen references to the prayers of Jesus recorded in the four gospels. Some were prayers of praise and thanksgiving, some were for others, some were for the disciples and for us, His followers, and especially some for himself that He might always do the will of his Father.
He came boldly to the throne of God with his petitions because He had a close, intimate relationship with His Father. He understood the will of His Father and was willing to accept that will even if it meant being crucified. We are not as intimately acquainted with God as Jesus was, but 1John 5:14-15 tells us: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Think of the last thing you prayed for; were you devoted to your desire or to God’s. We should be truthful with God and ask in faith but be willing to accept His will. He has a better view of the whole situation and wants us to trust Him in all things. Our main purpose in prayer should not always be to get God to do something for us. Many times our prayer should be asking God, through his power, to help us do something ourselves. If we have true power in our prayer life, it can be the path to receive power to tackle and overcome the obstacles that prevent us from having victory over the difficulties in our life, and the power to do the work that God has called us to do.
Prayer may not always be a means of deliverance from a situation. Sometimes it is a means by which we can have the ability to bear whatever comes our way. Since we have human need and human weaknesses, there may be times when we are faced with an inevitable tragedy or a task that we feel will demand more of us that we have to give. At these times we are overwhelmed and feel it is something we cannot bear. Prayer may not always remove the tragedy or difficult situation or take away the demanding task, but it does make us able to face the unbearable, to face the unfaceable, to be able to pass our human breaking point and not break.
“The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.” Psalm 37:39
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
Sometimes we should just spend our prayer time praising God and thanking Him for his love and care, and don’t ask Him for anything, for He already knows our needs and our hearts. Then be quiet and let Him speak to us. Worship and prayer should not be separated if we are to have real fellowship with our God.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
Below are some of the references for Jesus’ prayers. We should follow his example.
At His baptism (Luke 3:21)
In a solitary place (Mark 1:35)
In the lonely places (Luke 5:16)
All night, before choosing the twelve (Luke 6:12)
Before His invitation, “Come to me” (Matthew 11:25-27
At the feeding of the five thousand (John 6:11)
After the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:23)
When He gave the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1-4)
At Caesarea-Philippi (Luke 9:18)
Before his transfiguration (Luke 9:28-29)
For little children (Matthew 19:13)
Before the raising of Lazarus (John 11:41-42)
In the temple (John 12:27-28)
At the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-27)
For Peter (Luke 22:32)
For the disciples (John 17)
In Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44)
On the cross (Luke 23:34)
At Emmaus (Luke 24:30)