I've often wondered when I should pray. During times of stress? At bedtime?
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Luke 6:12–13 (NLT)
Prayer must have been important to Jesus. The Bible records often His solitary activity with His Father. His prayers included thanksgiving, petition, and praise, often including all night sessions without sleep. Early in Jesus’ ministry, Jesus spent one of those slumberless nights in prayer. The next morning He would be selecting the twelve men He would disciple for the next three years. Big decision. Important one. These men would help change the world for God.
Jesus also prayed during His baptism, at the beginning of His ministry (Luke 3:21). He led the disciples in a model prayer (Matthew 6:8–13), and He gave thanks before He fed 5,000 + people with five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:19). Jesus interceded for His disciples before He was betrayed (John 17). He prayed so intently in the Garden of Gethsemane, that He sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
But the Bible doesn’t record all the words of Jesus’ prayers. I’ve often wondered, Why? How should I pray? When should I pray? At stress time? Test time? Bedtime?
The more I read about Jesus’ life and His prayers, the more I understand how to answer those questions. What matters to God is not the words we pray, or the amount of time we spend praying, but the life of the prayer. Praying revealed Jesus’ relationship with His Father. For us, prayer is also a relationship, one that grows as we spend time with Jesus daily.
Prayer is also an attitude, a response, and a commitment. But most of all, it is practicing the presence of God daily, worshipping Him continually, and depending upon His power completely. That’s what Jesus did.
Faith step: Plan your own private “prayer retreat” this week. Try reading through some Psalms, praising and thanking Jesus for who He is and what He has done for you.