He Prayed!

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Pray without ceasing — 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Have you ever struggled in your prayer life? Of course you have—we all have. But as we have seen, the early church had some of their greatest victories in prayer, as I pointed out in my devotion last week, They Prayed

Why was that the case? I believe it was for two reasons. One, they received the power of the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised (John 14:16-17, 15:26-27. 16:6-7) and two, they had the powerful example of our Lord as you will see.

Jesus came closer to never ceasing to pray than any other person who has ever lived. As the Scriptures tell us, it all started at His baptism (Luke 3:21-22). In Mark’s gospel we see him praying first thing in the morning before heading to Galilee to begin His ministry (Mark 1:35-36). He prayed before choosing His 12 disciples (Luke 6:12-13) and again after the return of the 70 (Luke 10:21). He prayed after His miracles and healings and at His Transfiguration.

In Gethsemane, before His betrayal, He prayed three separate prayers (Luke 22:39-46; Mark 14:32-42). Right after being nailed to the cross, Jesus prayed one of His most beautiful prayers with all of us in mind, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Matthew 27:46).

In fact, the Bible speaks of more than twenty different occasions when our Lord went before our heavenly Father in petition. With His dying breath, Jesus prayed, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 24:30) and He prayed a blessing on His disciples before His Ascension into heaven (Luke 24:50-53).

He often prayed alone: sometimes all night; sometimes publicly after laying hands on people, and even openly for the authorities. His longest prayer for us is seen in John 17 right after “the Lord’s Supper” and the Bible tells us that He continues to pray in intercession for us to this very day (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1)*

What an example for us—and what a Savior for us! Now, my closing question for all of us is this: “If Jesus, the Son of God, as a man saw a need to consistently pray—should we not do the same?” I hope His prayer life inspires you. It does me! — Maranatha.

*For an excellent study of all the number of times Jesus prayed in the Bible, visit this website by Steve Shirley.

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