November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go a whole day without talking to someone? Perhaps it’s just my extrovertedness that shudders at the idea, yet everyone can attest to the fact that relationships and conversations are essential to human life. This is why depression and anxiety are often connected to feelings of loneliness and why the pandemic increased such feelings in people around the world. If communication is important in developing deep and genuine relationships that sustain human life, then communication with our Father God must be just as important in fostering a deeper relationship with Him to sustain our spiritual lives.
There are multiple instances in the gospels where the author chooses to note that Jesus took time to pray. For example, Mark writes in his gospel that “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” (Mark 1:35 NIV). If Jesus made time to pray, then I think prayer is something He wants us to make time for as well. John 17 is an entire chapter dedicated to Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Through this chapter, we can break down the way Jesus uses prayer into three categories that will help us be more intentional with how we pray.
Jesus used prayer as a discipline.
Just like any good athlete has disciplines when it comes to exercising, eating healthy, and practicing their sport, believers should use the disciplines given and exemplified in Scripture to grow stronger and closer to Christ. There are even great examples of prayer found in other religions such as the practice of praying five times a day in Islam. I have spoken with some Muslims about this practice, and my conversations were truly convicting because I realized how often I can forget the power, honor, and beauty of prayer.
Looking at Jesus’ prayer in the garden and His prayer life throughout the Scriptures, we should be reminded of this beauty and devotion, too! In John 17, we can clearly see Jesus made prayer a habit because of the language He uses with His Father. It’s both personal and respectful.
In Acts 2, as the early church was just forming, Luke writes about four essential building blocks they built their community off of: the apostle’s teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread (communion), and prayer (Acts 2:42). If we want to be more intentional about our prayer life, then we must view it as a discipline and begin using it as one. Although we never want to take away from the personal aspect of prayer, there’s still something so sacred and compelling in tradition and discipline. When we develop regular habits of prayer, we’ll actually fall more in love with Jesus and increase our devotion through it.
Ideas for some practical steps:● Start with the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6:9–13). Study it and recite it daily.● Pray on your knees in the morning or evening.● Study and recite other prayers in the Bible.● Dedicate a time every day to pray.
Jesus used prayer as a conversation.
Although prayer is a spiritual discipline, one that should be viewed as sacred and beautiful, it’s also a conversation between us and God. It’s important to recognize that prayer is a holy and significant privilege. We have the ability to talk with a righteous God as sinful people because Christ paid the price for our sin and attributed His righteousness to us. At the same time, we’re also encouraged in Hebrews to approach the throne of God’s grace with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help us in times of need (Hebrews 4:16). Therefore, we must enter times of prayer with gratitude for the holy action taking place, yet also with confidence because of the comfortability we should feel as we enter a conversation with our Father.
This is exactly how we see Jesus pray in John 17. He speaks to God as His Father and repeatedly refers to Him as such. He also refers to Himself as Son. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our Savior, we also become part of God’s family and thus can pray in the same way. God is now our Father, and we are His children!
Additionally, Jesus doesn’t solely request things in prayer. He also spends time recounting His actions to God and telling Him what He has accomplished on the earth. This sounds much more like a conversation, right? Just like our relationships with other people grow through regular and deep conversations, our relationship with God will also grow in the same way. Our ability to talk to Him as a Father and a friend is something very unique to our faith, and taking advantage of this opportunity will also help in being more intentional with our prayer lives.
Ideas for some practical steps:● Pray out loud.● Talk to God about your day and your life.● Use any spare time you have to talk to God, such as in the car or shower.● Try to recall or use Scripture when praying.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.