Why would Jesus pray when He is God? People pray because they need a higher power to act on their behalf for one reason or the other. But since Jesus is God, what was He doing praying? This article aims at answering these questions.
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed - Mark 1:35 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: - Luke 6:12-13 (NKJV)
Christ had reasons to pray while on earth, being a man born of a woman. One of which was to give us examples to follow for us to live victorious lives - 1 John 2:6. Secondly, being in the form of a man, He needed God, the Father, to empower and guide Him to success on earth. Thirdly, since prayer is a channel of communication between God and man, Christ fellowshipped with God in prayer. When He prayed, He prayed to God, the Father- the first personality in the trinity.
As an example to believers
Christ's life on earth shows us how to live a victorious life on earth. One thing that Jesus did often was praying - Luke 5:16. He taught His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1-13) and by example stressed to them the importance of praying to God; and when He went back to heaven, His disciples followed His example and prayed often too.
In the days of the apostles, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. The twelve apostles asked that they be exempted from serving table so they could give themselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word - Acts 6:1-4. They knew that praying was something they were not to toil with, this they obviously learnt from Christ.
When the apostles wanted to replace Judas Iscariot that betrayed Jesus, they had to pray to God to show them who to appoint in place of Judas (Acts 1:24-25), following the footsteps of Jesus as He also prayed before choosing the twelve apostles - Luke 6:12-16.
Also, Paul having being taught by Christ Himself (Galatians 1:12), admonished us to pray without ceasing - 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Prayer was an important part of Christ and He taught His disciples to follow His footsteps.
His man nature
Jesus Christ was born of a woman and so had the flesh that is limited. He needed God the father to guide Him on earth just like we do. Everything He did was as directed by God - John 12:49-50. And He got these instructions through prayers.
For instance, before commencing His full ministry, He did a forty days prayer and fasting, after which He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit and His fame went abroad - Luke 4:1-15. He needed the anointing from God and He got it through prayers.
Another time, Christ prayed all night before He could choose twelve apostles from among His disciples - Luke 6:12-16. Apparently, God gave Him the names of those He chose during the night prayers, including Judas Iscariot who betrayed the Lord.
And of course, before He was betrayed, He prayed harder than ever before that His sweat was like great drops of blood, and the angel of God came and strengthened Him (Luke 22:41-44) so He could face the betrayal, shame, persecution, crucifixion and death without given up; and worst of all, face the trauma of being rejected by the father when He carries our sins. This rejection by His father (Matthew 27:46) was a form of hell for Him, which He endured to be able to save man and reconcile them back to God. Thank God He didn't give up!
Fellowship with God
Jesus Christ fellowshipped with His Father through prayers. He drank of the love of the Father in prayers and then came out and faced the hostility of men towards Him without being disturbed by it. Prayer I believe was a resting place for Him from the day's work in the midst of sinful and spiritually blind men.
In prayers He could relate with God as a father relates with the son he loves. Prayer time was a great time for Christ. One time at the tomb of Lazarus, He prayed to God (John 11:41-42) and part of what He said was," I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." This tells us how much Jesus enjoyed praying to God.
For how long did Christ pray each time He prayed?
There was no specific number of minutes or hours or days, but he prayed as long as the issue on ground demanded. But most of His quiet time I believe was not less than one hour before God because He wondered why His disciples could not watch with Him for one hour - Matthew 26:40
Sometimes, it was only for some minutes like when He prayed before the tomb of Lazarus, other times just for hours, like when He dismissed the five thousand men besides women and children that He fed with fives loaves and two fishes. He went and prayed till evening time (Matthew 14:23) before joining His disciples in the boat. Sometimes, He prayed all night too, like when He prayed all night before choosing His twelve apostles - Luke 6:12-16. Also remember the forty days He spent fasting and praying before starting His ministry fully on earth.
The more you spend time in God's presence, the more your flesh is subdued and your spirit gains dominion. You become more spiritually alert to hear clearly from God. This ensures your victory in the physical over all devices of the enemy. You get the details of the day in prayer and you will just go through the day as Christ would. So, don't rush over your quiet time.
Note that you may spend a long time praying to get only a word from God, but that one word will save you years of toiling and frustration. Moses spent forty days and nights fasting to bring down only the Ten Commandments on the tablet (Exodus 34:28-29), by which the Israelites were governed for years before the new covenant by Christ.
Also, Jesus spent the whole night to choose only twelve apostles, who eventually facilitated the spread of the gospel of Christ to the entire world. Therefore, the bigger the issue, the more time you should spend praying.
In conclusion, praying was a very important program in Christ's life. His success was hinged on the time He spent in God's presence praying. He left us an example that we should follow, and wisdom demands that you do as Christ has done if you want to enjoy fellowship with God and success too.
Ngozi Nwoke is a teacher, counselor and author of "Peace Money Can't Buy" and "The Man Jesus" . She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy peace, God's love and christian living for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? Subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.co
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