In developing a committed and faithful prayer life there is no greater example that we can follow then the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. Very early on in Jesus’ ministry His life of prayer was of special interest to the gospel writers. In fact in the first chapter of Mark’s gospel, following Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness, we read these words, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “everyone is looking for you!”(v.35-37 NIV). Jesus had had a full day of ministry the day before, performing miracles and driving out demons. That did not stop Him from rising early the next morning, probably around 4 AM, to find a solitary place where he could spend time with his Heavenly Father. He withdrew Himself from the crowds and acclaim of Capernaum to seek a solitary place in the wilderness in the presence of His God. This is a critical occasion in Jesus life as He is getting ready to go on His first preaching and miracle tour. The word “prayed” in verse 35 is in the imperfect tense which in the Greek language conveys the idea of praying over and over again. Jesus sought His Heavenly Father’s blessing and that is an example that each of us should follow! It is no surprise that Jesus had such authority and power when His prayer life was so disciplined. No matter how much the Servant helped others He always took time early in the in the morning to meet with His Father. If we as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ are too busy to pray then we are simply too busy and God will not bless our efforts regardless of how well organized and planned they maybe. If the Son of God had time to spend in prayer while ministering on earth how much more do we need to develop lives of prayer and to have a kindred spirit with the Lord Jesus Christ as we seek to do His will. Prayer is not only our duty but it is our privilege as well. I wonder when Peter and the disciples went looking for their glorious guest if they had taken time to pray themselves. Or were Peter and the other disciples so consumed with the ministry to be done that they didn’t bother to take time to pray? We can be worried and consumed with all kinds of ministry things and all kinds of busyness in our lives but unless we take time to commit those things to the Lord we really shouldn’t expect God’s blessing.
Once again in Luke’s Gospel we also see the Lord Jesus Christ taking time to connect with His Heavenly Father. We read in Luke 5 these words: “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so the crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”, (v.15-16NIV). Notice the word “often” in this passage. It really demonstrates for us that this was something Jesus regularly sought in his life. If Jesus relied on prayer to bring him into Yahweh’s presence shouldn’t we also be relying on prayer on a daily basis? Once again in the next chapter of Luke’s Gospel on the night before Jesus chose his 12 apostles we read these words: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spend the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose 12 of them whom he designated apostles”, (v.12-13NIV). On this it occasion Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to His Heavenly Father. Jesus had a very important decision that he would be making the next day but why was it necessary for Him to pray when He already knew everything? Scripture never loses the view of Jesus’ perfect humanity even while keeping in view the higher objective of His earthly mission. Jesus sought a deep intimacy with His Heavenly Father before He was to call the 12 apostles. Spending extended time in prayer before critical ministry decisions is such an important aspect of being disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was about to choose mostly unlearned, unknown men to be his closest followers, men who would ultimately turn the world upside down. He needed God’s wisdom and guidance before making these important decisions. If this is true in Jesus’ life how much more true should it be in our lives. In the ninth chapter of the book of Joshua we are told the story of the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites were Israel’s neighbors in the holy land who pretended to be from a far- away land in order to make a treaty with Israel. They brought old stale bread and old clothes and old wineskins and told the Israelites that they had come from a long way. The Israelites looked at what had been presented to them and believed that the Gibeonites were from a foreign nation seeking a treaty with them. The most important aspect of the story occurs in verse 14 where we read: “The men of Israel sampled their provisions but they did not inquire of the Lord. Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath,” (v.14-15 NIV). Three days later they would find out that the Gibeonites were indeed their neighbors. The Gibeonites would become a thorn in the flesh of Israel, all of which could’ve been avoided had they simply sought the Lord’s counsel and not simply looked at the samples that had been presented to them. It is very, very important for us to be discerning in this day of great evil. There are evil forces that are trying to deceive us and the only way to determine and to discern God’s will is to seek Him in prayer. If prayer was good enough for Jesus in the most important decisions that he had to make, how much more important should it be in all the decisions that we have to make. May God find us seeking Him on a regular basis to know what He would have us to do. Prayer is truly the source of great blessing and peace.
Pastor Rich Sivo