Prayer Life of Jesus: Luke 3:21-22
The Prayer Life of Jesus
Someone once wrote: “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers - how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they many be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; it is fervency of spirit which avails much!”
Indeed, James, the Lord’s half-brother, wrote: “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
What do you and I pray about?
Thomas Watson wrote: “Prayer delights God’s ear, it melts His heart, it opens His hand: God cannot deny a praying soul.”
The word “pray” or “praying” are used 43 times in the gospel accounts. And that’s just one word among many synonyms for the act of praying in the NT. No one has understood the power of prayer or relied on the power of prayer more than Jesus Christ did. That’s why we are going to look at a dozen of the prayers of Jesus in 2023… We begin at His baptism….
John was the forerunner of the Messiah. He was known as the “baptist” or the “baptizer” because baptism was a distinct aspect of his preaching. There were some “ritual washings” among the Jews but nothing comparable to the baptism which John preached. His baptism was “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3).
It was during that preaching that Jesus walked from Nazareth to the Jordan River to be baptized by John, which is the setting of our study this morning…
“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
I believe this is the first reference to Jesus’ prayer life. In some prayers, His words are recorded. His words are not recorded in this prayer. We can only make an educated guess as to what Jesus prayed for as He was coming out of the waters of baptism.
It likely centered around the strength that God the Father provides. He likely prayed for guidance. He probably prayed to be the Messiah and the Messenger that the Father needed Him to be - to be faithful to the task that He was about to begin. Since He is led into the wilderness to be tempted right after He was baptized, He probably asked for strength to stay faithful to God throughout the temptations.
Jesus was a man of prayer - to put it mildly. Not only did He talk about prayer quite a bit, but He also prayed quite a lot. Some references to His prayer life are just like this one - no content, just a reference to prayer. Some references - like John 17 - are a complete prayer.
What do we need to pray for?
We need to pray for our spouse.
We need to pray for our spirits.
We need to pray for our emotions.
We need to pray for our children / us as parents.
We need to pray for our marriage.
We need to pray for our humility.
We need to pray for our relationships.
We need to pray for our priorities.
We need to pray for our self-respect.
We need to pray for our fears.
We need to pray for our purpose.
We need to pray for our trust.
We need to pray for our protection.
We need to pray for our desires.
We need to pray for our work.
We need to pray for our deliverance from temptations.
We need to pray for our obedience.
We need to pray for our future.
We need to pray for our moods.
If we don’t pray to God about these aspects of our lives - and others - then we leave that aspect of our lives open to chance. Jesus prayed beginning in Luke 3 and He prayed throughout His life even on the cross as He faced death.
LET’S PRAY ABOUT OUR SPIRITS:
If we do not spend enough time in prayer, worship, and study of God’s word, our spiritual strength is going to lose ground and Satan will get the upper hand.
One of Satan’s greatest tools is doubt. He wants us to doubt God and he wants us to doubt ourselves. He wants us to doubt whether all things really do work together for our good (Rom. 8:28).
We can get worn down physically, emotionally, and mentally by the attacks Satan throws at us and it might be that we are not even aware of the weakness in our spirit until it is too late. When our spirits are weak, then the impact is felt in other areas of our lives, our marriages, our work life, everything.
We need to pray for our spirits, that we will be so solid in the truth of God’s word, that we can identify any and all lies from the deceiver, cast those thoughts aside, and focus intently on the Word of God and it alone.
In other words, we need to pray for our spiritual walk. Whether you are male or female, you want to be a strong man or a strong woman for God. Pray about it.
Pray for patience. Pray for love. Pray for peace. Pray for all the fruit of the Spirit. Pray that you will understand what God wants us to do in each situation and then follow through with action, keeping God’s revealed will foremost in your mind.
We need to keep our hearts focused on pleasing God first and foremost - As Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:9, we need to “have as our ambition to be pleasing to God.” When we do that, “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7).
We can’t control other people. God chooses even not to control other people. He gives each of us free will. But, we can allow God to control us. If we humble ourselves and allow Him to control us - living His word in our lives daily - then He can work through us.
He can make us better husbands and wives. He can make us better husbands and fathers. He can make us better neighbors. He can make us better workers. He can make us better citizens.
When we meditate on God’s word and then pray for help, we are inviting God to exercise His power in our lives. Prayer will help us be better able to hear God’s voice through His word and to respond to His instructions.
Paul gives us a principle, in the context of giving, in 2 Corinthians 9:6, that also applies to prayer. Listen to his words: “he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” If we sow prayer sparingly, we are going to reap sparingly. But if we sow prayer bountifully, then we will reap bountifully.
We don’t have to concern ourselves either about how God is going to answer our prayers. That’s His responsibility! We just have to pray. Let God do the answering when and how He knows is best.
SPECIFICALLY, FOR WHAT SHOULD WE PRAY? 1 Peter 3:8:
First, we need to pray for unity of mind. That means my mind being united with God’s mind. It means my mind being united with Rachel’s mind. It means my mind being united with those around me. Pray to be of one mind in those relationships that are important to me.
“Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste” (Matthew 12:25).
Specifically when it comes to our marriages, keep in mind what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:11: “neither is woman independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.”
We are not of the same beliefs as those around us. Our thoughts are guided by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. But we can still pray that we can find common ground in our thinking with those around us.
Secondly, we should pray for compassion. That suffering often comes out in how they deal with us. It might even come out in how we are dealing with them.
Being compassionate means that we try to understand and have sympathy for them in their area of struggle and that we honestly have a desire to help them in their struggle.
People don’t necessarily expect we are going to fix their problems. But they do need to know that we are listening to their hearts and we care about how they feel.
We should pray, thirdly, for a stronger love. We see in various passages that we can “abound” in love and that we need to “abound still more” in love: 2 Cor. 8:7; Phil. 1:9; 1 Thess. 3:12.
How did Jesus love? He loved with fidelity, purity, constancy, passion. Even when we were unlovable. And Jesus is our standard of love for others. Specifically, Paul said this about the man’s love for his wife: “each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband” (Eph. 5:33).
Don’t withhold love from someone when it is in your power to show them God’s love: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Prov. 3:27).
Fourth, pray that your spirit will be tenderhearted. People around us do things that annoy us. There’s no getting around it. Pray that you will be tenderhearted toward those who do things differently than you. Pray that you will be tenderhearted toward those who irritate you and annoy you. Only God’s power can change our hearts and make us tenderhearted like Jesus.
In that way, we will find that other works - works of the flesh - will slowly get uprooted from our lives: anger, harshness, demeaning attitudes toward others. Criticizing others often times back fires. Pray for tenderheartedness and see what kind of change that causes in others around you.
Finally, pray that your spirit will be courteous. Pray that your spirit will not treat those whom you love worse than you would treat a stranger. Are you frustrated with work? Are you exhausted because of work? Are ou angry for whatever reason? Pray for a courteous spirit.
Our words can heal or they can destroy. Our words can be like a surgeon’s scalpel or they can be like the machete. Pray that your words will be courteous.
Especially in our marriage relationships, pray that you will be courteous towards your spouse. Paul wrote: “man was not created for the woman’s sake, but woman for the man’s sake” (1 Cor. 11:9). Men, treat your wife as the gift from God that she is. Be courteous to her. Be courteous to her and speak to her as God watches your actions and listens in to your conversations with her.
Pray to be:
Strong in faith.
To grow spiritually.
Spend time in the Word.
Discern the difference between God’s truth and the Devil’s deception.
Strong in the Lord.
A light to others.
Know God’s will and live it.