Jesus and Prayer
Some years ago, I read a book in which the author mentioned doing a study on Jesus and prayer. I thought to myself, “I’ve never done that. If I am a follower of Christ, I should know what He says about prayer.” So for the next five months, I read and reread the gospels to discover for myself the prayer life of Jesus and what He says about prayer.
The following is the outline of what I learned. This is a Bible study on Jesus and prayer taken from the books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Jesus invites us to communicate with Him
A. What Jesus says
- Jesus says, “Come” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Remember when you were a child in elementary school and there was that certain someone you really wanted to be friends with. Then one day they said to you, “Come, sit with me.” And you thought, “They like me!” Likewise, Jesus our friend invites us to come and sit with him.
- Jesus says, “Listen” (Luke 10:38-42).
“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine.”-Andrew Murray
“It is only when we know that we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to do what He says.”-Oswald Chambers
B. We should come as children
I watch my grandchildren and their relationship with my daughters and sons-in-law. The children love to be with their parents. They are totally dependent upon their parents for their needs. They have no inhibitions about asking for anything they want or need. When their parents are away for a while, they are overjoyed to see them again. They trust them, have complete confidence in them – and are not afraid of them.
- Matthew 18:3
- Luke 18:15-17
- Mark 10:15
“A child is never shy before his mother, and a child of God is conscious of his worthiness, namely, his entire dependence.”- Oswald Chambers.
C. Jesus is eager to listen and answer our requests
In Christ’s teaching on prayer, our Lord never once referred to unanswered prayer. My four year old granddaughter, Tabitha, prayed one night, “Dear God, please give us a good day tomorrow so Grandpa and I don’t have to fish in the rain.” The next morning, as soon as she was awake, she ran to the door, to see if God had answered her prayer. In our “adult” praying, we should be just as eager to see if He has answered our prayers.
- Matthew 7:7-11
- John 16:24b
- Luke 18:7&8
D. House of prayer?
You are the temple of God. Are you known as a person who prays? As a temple of God, are you declaring His praises?
- Matthew 21:13
- Mark 11:17
- Luke 19:46
- 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
- 1 Peter 2:5 and 9
The prayer habits of Jesus
“We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.” -Charles Stanley
A. Personal prayer
- He took time alone with the Father.
- Mark 1:35
- Mark 6:46
- His reason for spending time with the Father was to discover God’s will for His life. Why do you pray?
- John 8:26b,28 and 29
B. Public prayer
- He publicly thanked God for food.
- Mark 8:6,7
- John 6:11, 23
- Mark 14:22
- Do you thank God for your food when you are in a restaurant? Jesus prayed publicly for the benefit of the people, that they would believe God.
- John 11:41-43
C. Prayer in a small group
Initiating prayer in a small group (family, friends etc) provides opportunities to teach them how to pray. Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ International, says she learned to pray in a group of college and career people. Their prayers and God’s answers to their prayers, stimulated her to want to know God in a deeper way.
- Luke 11:1
- Luke 9:18
D. He prayed for his disciples
The greatest gift we can give to others is our prayers. When we pray for others the same qualities that Jesus prayed for, we know we’re praying in the will of God.
- Luke 22:32
- John 17
- John 14:16
E. He prayed for unbelievers
- Luke 23:34
F. He has power over sickness, death, weather and demons
“Learn to worship God as the God who does wonders, who wishes to prove in you that He can do something supernatural and divine.” -Andrew Murray
- Mark 1:23-27
- Mark 1:40-42
- Mark 4:36-40
- Mark 5:35-42
Jesus’ posture during prayer
In my study of the gospels, I didn’t find one reference where Jesus folded His hands or bowed His head when He prayed. He had open and free communication with the Father. Most of the time he looked up, not down.
A. Looking toward heaven
- Matthew 14:19
- John 11:41
- Mathew 26:26
C. Prostrate (lying face downwards)
- Matthew 26:39
D. On the cross (when in deepest agony)
- Matthew 27:46
E. Hands raised in a blessing
- Luke 24:51
Do you practice using various positions when you pray? Wherever you are, lift up your eyes to God. There is no need to be in a specific place to pray, such as a church. Pray wherever you are.
Jesus commands us to pray
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.” S.D. Gordon
A. To not yield to temptation
We are told to pray that we won’t yield to temptation, but it is evident that prayer helps us not to fall into temptation.
“God will never tell us to do something that gratifies the flesh.” – Charles Stanley
- Mark 14:38
- Luke 22:40,46
B. That during the end time, our flight would not occur on the Sabbath or winter, and that we might escape.
- Luke 21:36
- Matthew 24:20
- Mark 13:18, 19
C. For God’s Kingdom to come
“Of course, God’s will must be the primary object of our prayers… and we must recognize prayer as an instrument of God’s will. Therefore, we pray that God’s will may be done throughout the world… and in intercessory prayer we bring people… from around the world… into the presence of God.” – Dietrich Bonhofer
- Matthew 6:10a
D. For God’s will on earth
- Matthew 6:10b
E. For our daily bread
- Matthew 6:11
F. For forgiveness of our sins
- Matthew 6:12
G. Guidance away from temptation; deliverance from the evil one
- Matthew 6:13
H. Laborers for the harvest
“Pursuing prayer is prayer on a mission. It is diligent, fervent, constant, persevering, determined and convinced.” – David Bryant
- Matthew 9: 37,38
- Luke 10:2
Jesus taught His disciples to pray
A. Recognizing where God is and who He is.
“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness and the beauty of Jesus … He alone can raise our cold hearts to rapture and restore again the art of true worship.” -A.W. Tozer.
- Matthew 6:9
B. Yielding their personal wills to God’s; right heart attitude.
- Matthew 6:10
C. Our daily needs.
- Mathew 6:11
D. Focus on our attitude toward others.
Paul Billheimer in his book, Don’t Waste Your Sorrows, suggests the measure we are able to forgive those who wrong us is an indication to what extent agape love is being developed in us.
- Matthew 6:12
E. Recognition of God’s power over the evil one.
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil…”- E.M. Bounds.
Jesus’ principles of prayer
“The point to remember is that all our circumstances are in the hands of God. The purpose of prayer is to reveal the presence of God, equally present at all times and in every condition.”- Oswald Chambers
A. Have faith in God
“It matters little what form of prayer we adopt… or how many words we use. What matters is the faith which lays hold on God, knowing that He knows our needs before we even ask Him. That is what gives Christian prayer its boundless confidence and its joyous certainty.”- Dietrich Bonhofer
- Mark 11:22-24
B. Ask and keep asking
- Luke 11:9-10.
C. Ask in Jesus’ name
The company or organization you work for gives you status; your husband/wife gives you acceptability; your family gives you credibility. But only Jesus’ name gives you access to the Father.
- John 14:13, 14
- John 16:23b
D. Abide (remain) in Jesus
- John 15:7
E. Bear fruit
“Prayer, for Jesus Christ, formed the brackets in which He accomplished His earthly work. It fortified Him with wisdom and power before action occurred, and it renewed, refreshed, and revived Him when His human strength was exhausted. On the front end He prayed for fruit, in the middle He bore fruit, and afterwards, He thanked God for fruit.”-Dan Hayes.
- John 15:16
F. Be Godly and do His will
- John 9:31
- Mark 11:25
H. He judges hypocrites, but listens to a humble heart
- Luke 20:46,47
- Luke 18:10-14
- Matthew 6:5-7
- What did you learn from this study on JESUS AND PRAYER?
- How will your prayer life change as the result of this study?
God bless you as prayer becomes an ever increasing priority in your life.