An Example and an Invitation
(This post is a continuation of the idevotion series: how to have intentional devotions.)
Yesterday we celebrated Resurrection Sunday and all that Christ’s life, death and resurrection means for our lives. As we consider the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross, I am struck by the frequency of prayer.
Jesus prayed throughout His ministry on earth, but it is in that last week that we get deep looks into His prayer life.
Immediately following Jesus’ triumphal entry, He prays, and God answers audibly from heaven:
“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ' Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. John 12:27-34 NAS
During the evening of the Last Supper on the night Jesus was betrayed, He prayed the High Priestly Prayer for the believers of the day and all that would follow:
...."But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:13-18 NAS
Perhaps one of the most well known passages of prayer comes from the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked three of the disciples to pray with Him.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, " My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done." Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!" Matthew 26:36-46 NAS
In His final moments on the cross, He prays again: As the crowds jeered, taunted and murdered Him, He prayed:
But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them ; for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34 NAS
As the crucifixion neared it’s end, Jesus prayed to the Father:
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" Matthew 27:45-47 NAS
And finally, He lifts His life and words to heaven:
Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. John 19:30 NAS
From beginning to end, this season we all just observed was one that Jesus covered in prayer.
Like the disciples, we too have been invited into the depths of prayer. Sharing God’s heart and living in His will are inextricably intertwined with prayer from the most intimate places of our souls. How might God be desiring you to join His heart through praying more deeply and often today?
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 NAS
Most of us have wished for a Cinderella moment when we could step into a new pair of shoes and in the blink of an eye have our lives transformed. Or, perhaps like Dorothy, we wish we could close our eyes, click our heels and find ourselves instantly transported away from the adventure we accidentally got dropped into. While it might not come from new shoes or heel clicking, God knows our need for a changed life and fresh start! Discover the life transformation that happens when you say "Yes" to God and step into His fullness. Walking with Jesus 101 is a collection of devotionals journeying through the Scriptures that point our feet to God's pathway for living. What walk of obedience, leap of faith or stand of endurance might God be calling you to? He has good things stored up for His children who eagerly seek His highway for living!