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DAY 2 – JESUS OUR EXAMPLE
Jesus tells us to follow Him. He teaches us to follow Him every day:
If you want to spend your life following Jesus, you’ll need answers to these two basic questions: “What did Jesus teach?” and “What did Jesus do?” Learning what Jesus taught provides the foundation we need to obey His commands. Learning how Jesus lived His life provides us with the foundation we need to follow His example.
So, as you put into practice what you learned yesterday and begin a daily prayer time, it is important to understand what Jesus taught about prayer and how Jesus prioritized prayer in His own life. First we’re going to search the scriptures to understand what Jesus’ prayer life was like. After we study His example, we’ll study what He taught us about prayer. Let’s look at how He Himself prioritized prayer in His own life:
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16 shows us that Jesus Himself practiced exactly what you and I are committed to practice: He spent time alone in prayer. Jesus nurtured His relationship with His heavenly Father by spending time alone with Him in prayer. Despite all the demands on His time and all the people who wanted to be with Him, Jesus deliberately and “often” withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
If you and I are to follow the example of Jesus, it is vitally important for us to spend time alone with the Lord as well. Prayer was essential to Jesus’ life. How can it be anything other than essential to our life in Christ? Here are a few more verses that confirm Jesus’ dedication to a life of consistent prayer:
Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 6:46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Matthew 14:23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
Jesus not only demonstrated the concept of getting alone to pray, He also prayed before making decisions in His life.
Luke 6:12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
Luke records that Jesus prayed all night before choosing the twelve disciples who were to become apostles. Jesus prayerfully considered all His decisions. Through prayer Jesus walked confidently before His Father. He could honestly declare:
John 5:19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Please forgive me for repeating this so often BUT I BELIEVE OUR SPIRITUAL VITALITY DEPENDS ON IT: we desperately need to spend quality alone time with the Lord in prayer each and every day! If Jesus took the time to get alone and pray in order to nurture His relationship with His Father, how can we expect to thrive spiritually without daily alone time with the Lord? Prayer is a necessity to spiritual life just like water is a necessity to physical life. You can’t have one without the other.
Jesus set the example of a vital prayer life for us. But, for many of us, following Jesus’ example of regular prayer brings up a lot of questions:
- What is prayer?
- What posture is needed in prayer?
- How should I pray?
- How do I know God is really listening?
- How do I hear from Him?
Over the next several days we will be looking at what Jesus teaches about prayer. For now, we will do well to simply view prayer as a conversation with God.
Thanking the Lord for who He is; thanking Him for what He’s done; telling Him how you’re feeling; asking Him for help; asking Him for guidance; – these are all part of a vibrant prayer life. The key at this point is NOT to understand every aspect of prayer. The key is to START PRAYING ALONE WITH THE LORD EVERY DAY. Please remember: the only way to truly learn how to pray is to pray. Have you started? Did you spend time alone with the Lord today in prayer?
- Jesus teaches us about prayer in two basic ways (circle the correct response):
- By His example and by His teaching
- By His death on the cross and by His resurrection
- By priests and prophets
- By crossword puzzles and songs about prayer
- TRUE or FALSE:
- I don’t have to understand all there is to know about prayer before I begin praying. I can start now and learn as I go.
- Jesus prayed because
- He was bored
- He was lost in the wilderness and needed directions
- He wanted to stay in close relationship with His heavenly Father
- His disciples were driving Him crazy
If you haven’t set aside a time to pray or haven’t begun your prayer life for some reason, start now. As you pray, be sure to ask the Lord to teach you how to pray. Take a minute now and ask the Lord to show you one person He wants you to pray for. Write down their name and pray for the things the Lord leads you to pray for that person. Remember, God is listening. He will lead you in your prayer. He answers.