In the New Testament, there are at least six documented prayers of Jesus. Some of them do not record the actual words He used, while some of them offer detailed words. I am a strong believer in the power of prayer, and as I read over these six prayers of Jesus Christ, I took note of some things we can learn from each one of them. It is my hope that these prayers will benefit you in your prayer life.
1. At His baptism
“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.'” (Luke 3:21-22)
The scriptures do not tell us exactly what Jesus prayed, but the point is that even Jesus had need to talk with God. If Jesus had this need, surely we all do. This shows the relationship between Jesus and God the Father, which also demonstrates to us an example of how we also should maintain a relationship with God. When we are close to God and seek to do things pleasing to Him, such as being baptized, He is pleased with us just as He was with Jesus.
2. Before Choosing His apostles
“Now it came to pass that in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.” (Luke 6:12-16)
Anytime we have to make an important decision, we should spend time in prayer, asking God for the wisdom and guidance to make the best choices. Again, if Jesus needed to do this, surely we do as well. Something to note here is that Jesus went out to a mountains and prayed all night. He took time out of His busy schedule and went off to a place where He could be alone with God. When we need to make a critical decision, we too should take time out of our own schedule and go to a place where we will not be interrupted or distracted from God.
3. At His transfiguration on the mountain
“Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.” (Luke 9:28-29)
When we pray, we commune with God. We come before His throne, and anytime you come before God’s presence, you are altered in some way. You can not come before God and not be affected by His glorious and powerful presence. Our face and clothes may not become white and glistening, but prayer can indeed alter us by filling us with peace, comfort, and joy.
4. In the Garden of Gethsemane
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed because He knew He was about to be arrested, tried, and crucified. (Matthew 26:36-42)He said “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” (Matthew 26:38) When I read this, I often think that what He meant was that He was so deeply troubled over what He was about to face that He could actually die from it. Physically speaking, the anxiety He experienced at the knowledge of enduring such excruciating pain was so great that it could have caused Him to have a stroke or heart attack.
But, what did He do when felt this exceeding sorrow? He went to God and asked that He might not have to go through with all this pain, but “nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Jesus showed us the proper attitude to pray to God. We are to ask God for our needs and desires, but to be willing to accept God’s will, whatever it may be.
5. At Lazarus’s tomb
When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother, Lazarus, was sick, Jesus did not go right away to heal him. Instead, He deliberately waited until after Lazarus had already died before finally arriving at the sisters’ home. He said He did this so that the people present would see the glory of God. He said this because He knew that He could ask God to raise Lazarus from the dead, and God would grant His request. At the tomb just before Jesus commanded for Lazarus to raise from the dead, Jesus first gave thanks to God for hearing and answering His prayer. (John 11:38-42)
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” (John 11:41-42)
First of all, we see Jesus giving thanks to God for hearing His prayers. We should always show gratitude for answered prayers. God wants to be appreciated just as we want to be appreciated.
Secondly, when Jesus prayed this prayer, He practiced what He preached:
“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:23-24)
At Lazarus’s tomb, Jesus gave thanks to God for hearing His prayer BEFORE Lazarus rose from the dead. Jesus had faith that God would give Him the power to perform this miracle and thanked Him for it before it even happened. We would do well to follow after Jesus’s example and teachings. When we ask God for something, we should thank Him for it before it ever comes to pass because this shows God that we believe Him and trust Him, and God always rewards those who trust Him.
6. At the Last Supper
The chapters of John 13-17 cover the scene of the Last Supper, in which Jesus ate with His disciples. In Chapter 17, Jesus prays a long, detailed prayer on behalf of His disciples. It is one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible. In these 26 verses, Jesus:
–Praises God for giving Him power and authority (vs.2)
–Admits to accomplishing all the work God had given Him (vs. 4)
–Declares God’s love (vs. 26)
–Asks God to glorify Him with the glory He had with the Father before the world was. (vs. 5)
–Asks God to keep the disciples in God’s name (vs.11)
–Asks God to protect the disciples from the evil one. (vs. 15)
–Asks God that the disciples would one day be with Him again where He is with God. (vs. 24)
–In addition to the disciples, He also asked that all those who later believed on Him would be in unity with Him and the Father, that the world would believe that God sent Him. (vs. 21)
If we pattern our prayers after this prayer of Jesus, we would praise and honor God for all He has given us, commit ourselves to doing the work He has given us, declare His love, and pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of others.