Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jesus Prayed (PrayerLife)

The Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Jesus prayed.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Jesus-follower.

Therefore, I pray.

Using the logic of modus ponens:

1. If I am a follower of Jesus, then I pray because Jesus prayed.
2. I am a follower of Jesus.
3. Therefore, I have a prayer life.

Did Jesus "take time" to pray? This is not the way to talk about Jesus and praying. If prayer is talking with God about what the prayee and God are doing together, then "prayer" is a lifestyle of ongoing conversation with God. This entails getting alone with God - just you and God - and conversing.

Jesus prayed out of relationship with God. Prayer is relationship with God, just as ongoing communication with my wife Linda is the relationship. Prayer is a conversation with God.

In Scripture we see that...

a.   Jesus “was often found in prayer, not merely on formal and public occasions, i.e. when attending the synagogue, but informally and in private contexts, sometimes in lonely places.” (N. T. Wright, Jesus and the Victory of God, 149)

b.   Jesus spent time in solitude. Jesus began his ministry by spending 40 days alone in solitude (Mt. 4:1-11).

c.    Before choosing the 12 Jesus spent the entire night alone in the desert hills (Lk. 6:12).

d.   When he heard of John the Baptist's death Jesus "withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart" (Mt. 14:13).

e.   After feeding the 5000 he dismissed the crowd and "went up into the hills by himself" (Mt. 14:23).

f.     After a long night of work, "in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place" (Mk. 6:31).

g.    After healing a leper, Jesus "often withdrew to the wilderness and prayed" (Lk. 5:16).

h.   Before his time on the cross he went alone to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:36-46).

If our Lord took times of solitary prayer out of his own need to be in conversation with the Father, should we do any less?