“. . . there’s a significant difference between how Jesus prayed and the prayer life of many Christians today.”
Experiencing Prayer with Jesus, 9
Henry and Norman Blackaby
I’m not going to argue the point. I’m not going to try to prove the point. There are too many years behind me and too few years in front of me to waste time. The Blackaby’s are right, full stop. Argue with someone else.
But what does concern me is simply this: If the objective of Christian experience is be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; Galatians 2:20) so that we become a praise to His glorious grace (Ephesains 1:6, 11, 14), and if I truly want to live passionately “for and LIKE my Savior,” how can I close the gap between how I do pray (how most Christians pray) and how Jesus prayed?
Because that is my hope. Whatever progress I may have made in the last 47 years since I placed my faith in Christ and began this journey in prayer and contemplation, I want to make more progress. I want to become—all Christians want to become more like Him and less like themselves. And certainly, becoming like Him in prayer must be one of our goals.
How can that not mean that I must take studying the life, the details, especially the details of His communion with God the Father more seriously with each passing year? Whatever else it means, it must mean that. It must be that if I have any serious passion to become like Christ, to be conformed to the image of Christ, I must make ongoing diligent studies of the patterns and forms of what can be known about how Jesus prayed. It is inescapable, for when I open the gospels, while Jesus says and does many things, extraordinary things, the thing that we constantly observe Him doing everywhere is praying. So much so that the disciples, who obviously are more interested in sleep and comfort one day come to Him and ask Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1ff).
Clearly they have watched Him. And they have concluded that He knows more then they and so they ask Him, “Lord, would you tell us how to pray?” If you are disatisfied with the quality of your prayers, if you want to grow in the grace of prayer, if you want to become like Jesus in the pattern and passion of Jesus, let me invite you to study HIM. You might start here:
The Gospel of Luke: (Ask “who, what, when, where, how, with whom, for what, from what position” of the surround context in each of these passages below. (Make a chart. Here is a template for your discoveries.)
- 9:16, 18;
- 9:28, 29;
- 22: 41-45;
- 23:34, 46
Move on John 17: The whole chapter is a prayer. Analyze the chapter. What are the major sections? What occupies Jesus’s mind in prayer the night before He suffered? How can we learn to pray this way?
Projects 3, 4, 5
Do project one for each of the other gospels (Matthew, Mark, and John). Find all the passages that talk about Jesus praying. Look up the words pray, prayed, praying, praised, thanked, praise etc., in each book. Ask the same questions of the context.
Don’t start any of these without first asking God to train your heart with the discoveries you find. Learning without obedience is a deadly combination for your soul. Let’s become like Jesus in the way we pray. You learn to ride a bike by riding regularly till you do it well. You learn to pray by praying. And if we are going to become like Jesus we need to be immersed in His lifestyle and patterns.