“And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
God’s word abounds with commands, examples, and promises which are encouragements to pray. If we do not learn to pray, it will not be for want of instruction and example! Studying the place of prayer in the short life-span of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will reveal that it had top priority in His busy schedule.
Christ’s example: Christ withdrew into the wilderness to pray (Luke 5:16). He arose early to pray (Mark 1:35) and sometimes prayed all night (Luke 6:12). In a very dramatic moment, He sent away thousands so He could go pray (Matthew 14:23).
Christ’s expectation: Note that Jesus said “when,” not “if,” you pray, as He taught truths related to prayer (Matthew 6:5–7). He expects us to pray.
Christ’s explanation: Specific instruction is given by Jesus about how to pray. Ten percent of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6,7) is devoted to prayer. Included is the model prayer (6:9–15) which reveals various elements of praying, such as worship, confession, and petition. Much insight also can be gained regarding prayer from His parables. An example is found in Luke 11:5–8, which teaches (1) shameless knocking; (2) specific asking; and (3) tenacious persistence.
Christ’s present ministry: The Lord Jesus is now in the Throne Room in Heaven (Revelation 4:1,2) at the right hand of the Father, appearing in the presence of God for us in intercession (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; I John 2:1).
The power behind Jesus’ earthly ministry was derived from regular, unhurried times of prayer. Dare we place less emphasis on prayer than He did, as we face the challenges and opportunities of our day? JGH