In ‘3 Wrong Ways to Pray‘, we discussed 3 wrong ways to approach God. But is there a ‘right’ way? If so, what is it? Communicating with God can be hard, intimidating, routine, and/or just plain weird for some people. As Christians, we look to Jesus as our example. Although we do not know every move He made, we do know He had a very special prayer life.
Jesus communicated with God not only to be an example for us, but to converse with His Father. It was more than using the time because it was Jewish custom or a popular thing to do. Jesus’ praying represented a unique power that each of us has if we choose to use it. Not only does God hear, but He answers, even though at times we do not like the answer.
Prayer pushes us away from temptation and closer to God.
Once we realize the power of prayer and why it is so important for us to commune with God, we will see a shift in our spiritual walk. Prayer is more than a conversation with God, it is also a spiritual weapon. Through prayer, faith can be increased and doubt disseminated. Healing and miracles take place as a result of petitions made in prayer. Spiritual and physical blessings manifest themselves in our lives as we develop our prayer lives. We are able to resist temptation through prayer. Prayer is more than a conversation with God, it is also a spiritual weapon.
We know that we should pray, there are wrong ways to do it, but how do we know what to pray for? Jesus prayed in 3 specific times that we can use as guides for our own prayer lives.
1. Jesus prays as an example
In Matt. 6, Jesus instructed the disciples to avoid prayer like the hypocrites. He told them about their wrong ways of prayer and living. Instead of leaving them on their on to figure out what’s right, He gave them an example of prayer. This example has been titled as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. This prayer begins by acknowledging God and who He is in our lives. He didn’t say ‘God who is far away and doesn’t care about me’.
Instead, Jesus acknowledged God as His Father. By addressing God as our Father, Jesus shows the importance of establishing this intimate connection. Jesus says to ask God’s will be to done, for daily needs to be met, sins forgiven, and temptation to be avoided. The Lord’s prayer provides a great example on how to pray when you don’t know exactly what to pray.
2. Jesus prays for God’s glory
John 6 gives the example of Jesus’ prayer that God be glorified. One of the most beautiful prayers throughout all of scripture is Jesus’ prayer for God to get the glory through people coming into His saving knowledge. Jesus’ humility is seen when He prays that God be glorified through Him.
Although He did no wrong, Jesus knew the ultimate goal was not for Him to take over the place as ruler and king on at the time, but to die on the cross to restore mankind to God. Jesus knew that through Him eternal life would come, and He still prayed that God get the glory. Jesus also prayed for the disciples to remain protected and joyful. Believers everywhere were also on the heart of Jesus in that He petitions God for our unity.
Our joy, protection, and unity will point back to God so that He can get the glory since we cannot have true joy, protection, or unity on our own. Jesus prayed that God should get the glory as an example for us to also pray for God’s glory above ours in our lives.
3. Jesus prays for God’s will.
Before Jesus went to the cross to suffer a painful, humiliating death for you and me, He had a ‘moment’. In the Garden of Gesthemane, Jesus showed us it’s ok to tell God ‘I really don’t want to do this.’ His prayer was because He was well aware of the physical, mental, and spiritual pain that was to come. Physically, He would have to be questioned, beaten, forced to carry a cross, wear a crown of thorns, and death. Mentally, He would be subjected to public humiliation and accused, betrayed by people who once cried Hosanna, left alone by His disciples, and denied by one of the closest people to Him.
The spiritual pain that was to come was probably the most hard to fathom. While on the cross, our sin separated Jesus from God. This was what Jesus was dreading while in the Garden. He said, in my translation, ‘Can I do something else other than being separate from you?’ But even after asking for things to be done a different way, Jesus says a powerful statement. Again, in my translation, ‘But it’s not about doing things my way, but your way.’ God’s will is greater than ours even if we don’t want it, or it hurts. It’s ok to tell God ‘I don’t want to do this’, but don’t end it that way. Be sure to accept God’s will and continue with what He wants you to do.
Jesus’ examples of prayer provide a great framework for us to connect with God. Although these are not the only 3 instances Jesus prayed, they are significant illustrations of what our prayers should look like. The details of the Lord’s prayer, humility of Jesus in John 17, and His honesty in the Garden of Gesthemane show us the heart of Jesus and what we should be striving for. Honestly, it may be hard initially to pray to be able to forgive, avoid temptation, God’s will, and only God to get the glory. But that is why becoming like Jesus is a process.
By praying like Jesus, we develop character like Jesus, and our hearts become more like Jesus.
Through prayer we continue to develop our relationship with God, a relationship we wouldn’t have had without Jesus. Prayer is a sign of thankfulness for fellowship with God through Jesus. Show God you’re grateful for Jesus allowing each of us personal access to His presence by your prayer life.
What have you learned from Jesus’ prayers?