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Why Jesus Prayed

by J. W. Jepson, D.Min.

Life In Christ Center, 3095 Cherry Heights Road, The Dalles, Oregon 97058

(541) 296-1136

copyright � 2001 by J. W. Jepson

All rights reserved, including the right to grant the following permission and to prohibit the misuse thereof:

The Author hereby grants permission to reproduce the text of this article, without changes or alterations*, as a ministry, but not for commercial or non-ministry purposes.

*Permission is given for publication of excerpts and condensed versions.

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(NIV) Scripture quotations from the Holy Bible, New International Version are copyright � 1973, 1978, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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In the predawn darkness a lone figure moved silently through the streets, past the edge of town, and out into a solitary place. People were asleep, including His disciples. But not for long. Soon Peter and his companions would be up and tracking Him down with their intrusive message: Everyone is looking for you!" (Mark 1:37*).

But now He had to pray. At that moment the need for prayer was greater than the need for sleep. Jesus felt the urgency to be alone with the Father. He could not face the demands of the day without that energizing communion.

Prayer-deep, extended, lingering time in the presence of God-was a necessity to Jesus. At times when the crowds were the largest and the demands of ministry were the greatest, He withdrew to lonely places to pray. (See Luke 5:15, 16.)

As a man Jesus had tremendous stamina. At times He prayed all night and then plunged into a day-long agenda of preaching, teaching, and healing the sick. He prayed all night before choosing the 12 disciples. (See Luke 6:12.) After feeding the 5,000 He sent the disciples away by boat and went up into a mountain to pray, walking back to them on the water in the fourth watch of the night. (See Mark 6:46-48.)

Jesus is our example in all things-including prayer. If a well-established, consistent, ongoing prayer life was a vital necessity to the Son of Man, it most certainly is to us. Jesus Christ had to live in prayer, and so do we.

Jesus’ praying was not always peaceful and serene. At times He prayed "with loud cries and tears" (Hebrews 5:7.) Jesus knew the depth of intercessory prayer, an exercise in labor and travail.

We hear Him pray in Gethsemane: "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). Here intercession was coupled with submission. During that experience He said to His disciples, "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation" (Luke 22:46).

Prayer was essential to Jesus because He knew it was effective. At the tomb of Lazarus He affirmed to the Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always year me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me" (John 11:41, 42).

At the time of His arrest He assured sword-wielding Peter: "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"(Matthew 26:53).

Jesus continued His intercessory praying even while on the cross: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). The prophet had foretold that He would make intercession for the transgressors. (See Isaiah 53:12.)

Jesus did not shrink from the prayer of questioning: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). Nevertheless, this prayer was followed by one of quiet resignation: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46).

Many of Jesus’ prayers focused on His disciples-and on us. His great high priestly prayer recorded in John 17 is a paramount example.

Jesus told Peter, "Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith man hot fail" ((Luke 22:31, 32). In the end Peter’s faith did not fail. Jesus had prayed for him. That made the difference.

Today Jesus Christ is alive. He is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. He is praying for you.

Jesus prayed because prayer works. It moved the hand of God. It brought help to himself and to others. Prayer will do the same for you.

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