When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22)It was only as Jesus was praying at His baptism that the Spirit descended on Him like a dove and began revealing God's purpose for His life. Do you ever struggle to know God's will for your life? Spend more time in prayer.
Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)As Jesus got busier and became more popular, He continued to carve time out of His busy schedule to get alone and pray. You aren't busier than Jesus, are you? The truth is we can all find time to pray if we are willing to carve it out.
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles... (Luke 6:12-13)Jesus had an incredibly important decision to make. He couldn't pour Himself endlessly into hundreds of people. He needed to choose twelve of His disciples whom He could personally disciple. These men would begin the new Israel (the church) after His death. They would change the world! But whom should He choose? Jesus spent the entire night asking His Heavenly Father that exact question. Have you ever spent an entire night in prayer? Have you ever spent even an hour in prayer?
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” (Luke 9:18)Jesus included His disciples in His private prayer life. He allowed them to learn by participating in prayer with Him. On this occasion it led to an extremely important discussion. On another occasion it was only as His disciples heard Jesus pray that they were drawn to ask Him to teach them how to pray. The teaching that followed gave us the Lord's Prayer. (Luke 11:1) How often do you set aside time to pray with those closest to you? With your family or your close friends?
About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. (Luke 9:28-30)Jesus climbs a mountain to pray! I have a hard time rolling out bed to pray, and He climbed a mountain! Notice that Jesus is praying when He is transfigured. He isn't preaching or reading the Bible, but praying. Certainly this indicates how important and transforming prayer can be in the life of the believer.
On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:40-42)In Jesus' darkest hour He turned to nothing else but prayer. Surely if it was enough to comfort Jesus and steel His nerves for what lay ahead, then the ability to make our requests known to God is enough to help us through our troubles.
When you consider all of these passages together, it is clear how significant prayer was in the life of Jesus. My earnest hope is that it would be as central in your life and mine. Set aside some extra time today to spend in prayer with the Lord. If you don't yet know what to pray, start with the Lord's Prayer. (Luke 11:2-4)