How did Jesus pray? What was His customary style when He did pray? What can we learn from Jesus’ example of praying?
A Man of Prayer
Jesus was a Man of prayer and often prayed all night and did so in privacy, usually going up a mountain and in privacy. Instead of my telling you how Jesus prayed, why not let the Scriptures themselves reveal how Jesus prayed because I am human and am highly prone and subject to error. If it’s in the Bible, we know its right; therefore here are some Scriptures about how Jesus prayed with commentary about how we can apply this to our own prayer life.
Jesus Prayed on the Ground
Matthew 26:39 “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Here is the Lord God, Who is both Man and God, yet “he fell on his face and prayed” before the Father in a great sign of humility and reverent submission. I believe that is the best of all possible positions to pray because it is a form of reverence, respect, honor, and fear in falling before our God in prayer. If Jesus did so, how much more do we need to do the same?
Jesus Prayed for God’s Will
Matthew 26:42 “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
When we pray we must pray according to the will of God and that is what Jesus taught the disciples how to pray when they asked Him how they were to pray, saying “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Is God’s will being done in heaven? No doubt it is, because can you imagine if God wills something in heaven and it is not immediately done? Of course not. That is why we should pray for His will to be done “on earth as it is [already being being] done in heaven.” Jesus prayed for God’s will, even if it meant drinking the cup with which Jesus drank for our sake.
Jesus Hallowed God’s Name
Matthew 6:9 “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
When Jesus prayed, “hallowed be your name” He was essentially saying “Let your name be kept holy, let your name be treated with reverence” because His name is holy and that is why God takes it so seriously when His righteous name is blasphemed.
Jesus Prayed in Privacy and Solitary Places
Mark 1:35 “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
Jesus’ custom was to rise early, while it was still dark, and then go to a solitary place that was both isolated and private (Luke 5:16). We ought to pray in a similar fashion and go into our “prayer closet” or any other place where we can find privacy because it’s harder to pray to impress people if it is just us and God.
Jesus Prayed First Thing in the Morning
Mark 1:35a “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark.”
I realize that I am referencing the same verse but I didn’t want to miss out on the fact that Jesus’ custom was to rise early and it was so early that it was still dark. This too would ensure that it was private but I want to point out the fact that Jesus started His day off with prayer and so should we. I can remember the days that I skipped my morning prayers and lived to regret it.
Jesus Prayed for Others
John 17:9, 11b “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”
Jesus was consistently praying for His disciples and so we should be praying for others too. That means we should pray for the other members of the Body of Christ, the church and praying for the lost that they might be saved. I try to make it my pattern to pray for God’s glory first, for others next and then me last. God loves the humility of those who put others first above their own interests or needs.
Jesus Says Pray for our Enemies
Matthew 5:44-45 “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
This might be the hardest thing to pray for that there is. Jesus commands us in the Beatitudes to pray for our enemies and for those who persecute us “so that [or in order that we] may be sons of [our] Father.” Why? Because God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” and remember that we too were once His enemies (Rom 5:10).
Jesus tells us that we should pray in privacy, that we should pray first thing in the morning, that we should pray for God’s will above our own, that we should pray in a position of humility, that we should pray for others first, and that we should pray even for those who hate us because we were all once God-haters before we repented, confessed our sins, and put our trust in the Savior. My prayer as I am writing this is that you will know Jesus Christ and that you might be saved.
Another Reading on Patheos to Check Out: What Did Jesus Really Look Like: A Look at the Bible Facts
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon