Some of the most common stories in the Bible are the ones of individuals or groups of people who were facing situations that seemed nearly impossible. Time and again people were up against war, destruction, or famine and there seemed to be no way out of the problem.
Archive for the ‘The Bible and Prayer’ Category
When was the last time you staggered? Maybe you only stagger when you stand up too fast, or maybe you’re like my Dad. He always staggered about for a few minutes after giving blood. His blood type was very rare so they loved when he donated it, but he had to be careful or he would end up on the floor.
The Christian life is compared to many things, but in simple terms, it is a life of getting to know Jesus Christ. Everyday we should be getting to know Him better and better. We should be learning more of His nature, power, and plans. Our goal should be for everything we think and do to be filled with all the fullness of God. The fullness of God is a place of great love and power. It is also the place of powerful, effective prayers that receives great answers.
The key phrase in business for years was “location, location, location”. Some say this has changed to “position, position, position” with the advent of internet sales. Either way, the point is a business must be in the right place to be seen. Without a good location, or position, it is difficult to be successful. In prayer, the key is location and occasion.
For many years I worked with high school students. I was a teacher, coach, and administrator. I loved working with young people. Everyday was a challenging swarm of new ideas, plans, goals, and desires. In a world where something new could become old within an hour, and where people were so desperate to stand out from the crowd that they dressed, acted, and talked alike, the only real constant was change.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
We say it, “God is my priority in life”, but do we believe it and act like it? If we are to pray, really pray, we must dig deep into our lifestyle and set our priorities anew with His kingdom taking first place.
Jesus, the Man of Prayer, prayed all of His time on earth. We see Him in good times and bad, praying. His days were filled with prayers and prayer guided His decisions and plans. Finally, on the cross, with the agony and pain, we see the Man of Prayer continuing, even to the end, to pray.
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Luke 23:33-34 (NKJV)
And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’” Having said this, He breathed His last.
Luke 23:46 (NKJV)
With His expiring breath Jesus was still given to prayer.
This mention of prayer takes us into the garden of Gethsemane, one of the places Jesus often went to pray when He was near Jerusalem. In this grove of olive trees, Jesus lifted up his great plea.
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Matthew 26:39 (NKJV)
This is the final renewal of the conflict that we see in John chapter twelve, but now it comes with great intensity. Jesus, the One who knew no sin, began to realize within His spirit the dread and horror of contact with the sin of the world. After a short pause He prayed a second time. And with this prayer the victory was won. “Your will be done.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
Matthew 26:42 (NKJV)
These prayers are the ultimate examples of the prayer of dedication and consecration. He yielded to the Father’s will over His own will. This prayer is the prayer of dedication to ministry, our willingness to go wherever the Father wants us to go and to do what He wants us to do. “Your will be done.”
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10 (NKJV)
So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
Acts 9:6 (NKJV)
Yielding fully to the will of the Father is the first step to powerful, effective ministry.
In the thirteenth through the seventeenth chapters of the book of John, Jesus is alone with His disciples. He talks with them and teaches them, and in the seventeenth chapter He prays for them. All of this is done by a Man who knows His work here on earth is done, even though the main scene is yet to come. Jesus completed His work first by prayer in the spirit realm and then walked out the completed victory in the physical realm.
He is preparing to return to the Father’s presence to be reinstalled in glory there. So this prayer, in John 17:1-26, is like the prayers He prays now, it is often called high-priestly prayer. For thirty years He lived a perfect life. For three and a half years He was a prophet speaking to men for God. For more than twenty centuries He has been high-priest speaking to God for men. When He returns it will be as King to reign over men for God.
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
John 17:1-5 (NKJV)
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
Because of His completed work and continued prayer for us, we can come boldly to the Father in prayers. Daily our High-priest, Jesus, is making intercession for us. He has opened the door and prepared the ways for us to enter and pray. It is time for us to come boldly and pray.
Jesus, our High Priest, is making intercession for us.
In Luke chapter 22 we see the people gathering to celebrate the Passover Feast, the great celebration of the Jewish tradition. At this time we also see Jesus inaugurate the new memorial feast, “Do this in memory of Me.” Jesus is putting everything in order- the last teachings, the last instructions, the last prayers- before He returns to the Father’s presence.
Once again this is a very demanding time for Jesus. The pressure is on Him; the cross looms closer and closer. At this special moment the pressure even brings disputes between the disciples. In the mist of the demands and pressures, Jesus speaks to Simon (the old name for Peter).
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)
Jesus’ practice then was to pray for people, to pray for individuals, calling them by name. For Him no general prayer would do. “I have prayed for you.” His practice in prayer has not changed; Jesus is still is praying, He still prays for people, and He is praying for people individually by name. His work today, seated at the Father’s right hand in glory, is to pray for each of us who trust in Him, one-by-one. He is not too busy to pray, and He cares too much to lump you in with everyone else. He prays for you and for me.
This is wonderful news: Jesus is praying for me.
As always Jesus is our guide to prayer. He shows us how we should pray. We should follow His prayer example and pray for people. We should allow His love in our hearts guide and direct our prayers. He loves us and is praying for us, by name, specific prayers for a wonderful outcome for all we do. So we also should pray for people.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV)
Even in these busy days and stressful times, pray,
because Jesus is praying.