Ways to Pray More Like Jesus
DATE: 20 Mar, 2005 AM PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (Mt 9:9)
A. Jesus simply said, “Follow me” (be like me – not just copy me)
B. He offered all of mankind the chance to BE greater than they were – lost, hell-bound sinners who were without God, and without hope in the world
C. The devil offered us all a lie – a counterfeit – a hoax (Gen 3:1-5)
D. Only the coming of God in the flesh made it finally possible
E. But to become like Jesus is obtained one aspect, one quality, one characteristic at a time – so this whole year, we are exchanging our lives for the life of Christ
F. This month we are pursuing the prayer life of our Lord – that vital communications link between the Man Christ Jesus, and God the Father
G. People don’t really understand why Jesus prayed. There are two simple reasons:
1. Firstly, because He was always living His life as an example to us
2. Secondly, because the Man-part of Christ NEEDED to pray.
a. Jesus was both GOD and Man, right?
b. Well, the MAN part needed God the Father – needed His strength, wanted His will to be done, drew upon His words to speak, wanted His love to show to others.
c. And so you find Jesus the Man, praying:
1) Mr 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed
2) Mt 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
3) Mt 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
4) Mt 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
3. Jesus thought praying was so important that He physically threw dozens of men out of the Temple in order to restore it to the place it was meant to be – a place of prayer: Mt 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
H. Jesus knew how to pray. That’s why the greatest men on earth have turned not to Tibetan monks, or to Hindu gurus, or to Moslem imams, but to Jesus, and begged Him in Luke 11:1, “Lord, teach us to pray!”
I. Jesus taught them seven things about prayer:
1. Prayer is Praise first – we always start from the bottom and try to work up, while Jesus always first honoured and praised His Father!
2. Prayer is Power - Prayer is the greatest power we have access to here on this earth. See Moses, Daniel, 3 Hebrews, Elijah on Mt Carmel, Paul and Silas in prison, Jonathan Edwards, George Mueller, Etc.
3. Prayer is Petitioning – lots of asking and receiving
4. Prayer is Permitting – not controlling - allowing God to work. It is me admitting my weakness and His power. (Ill. Jairus - Mark 5: 22-23)
5. Prayer is Presuming - Believing – trusting God hears and is answering our requests!
6. Prayer is Exchanging – a swap out of our burdens for His rest.
7. Prayer is Persevering – a long term effort (Lk 18:1). Prayer Is Hard Work - True praying is not for the lazy. True prayer may require you to get up early, or stay up late. A prayer is never really finished until it has grown feet and gone to work for your need.
J. With these facts in mind, let’s look together at the Prayer Life of Jesus Christ.
II. Message -
A. Jesus Made Prayer a Priority (Lk 18:1). That means, He always Prayed First – He made it a Prerequisite to his decisions
1. We should do nothing in any area of life without first taking the time to saturate the matter in prayer.
2. Even Jesus preceded His activity with prayer.
a. Before Starting His ministry (Lk 3:21)
b. Before feeding the 5,000 - John 6:11
c. Before raising Lazarus from the dead - John 11:41
d. Before His trial and crucifixion - Luke 22:41-45
e. Before becoming our substitute on the cross for us - Luke 23:34
3. Especially in the realm of spiritual activity is prayer important! When we attempt to perform spiritual work in the power of the flesh, we are doomed to failure, or only self-glorification. However, if we will carry out God’s work in the power of prayer, we will certainly succeed and He will get all the glory!
4. This theme is repeated throughout the Bible - Luke 18:1, Rom. 12:12; 1Thes 5:17. (We are to remain in a constant attitude of prayer, and readiness to pray.
a. Mt 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
b. Mr 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
c. Mt 26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
d. Mt 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
e. Mt 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
f. Mt 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
g. Mt 26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
h. Lu 5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
i. Lu 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
j. Lu 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?
k. Lu 9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.
l. Lu 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
m. Lu 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
5. If the Son of God had to pray, how much more people like all of us?
6. Is prayer a PRIORITY in your life? It should be, it MUST be, for it is your ONLY lifeline to the Father!
B. Jesus Prayed Confidently, Believing God will Always Supply, and Do Right!
1. People trusted their families to His prayer life - Mt 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
2. People knew Jesus got what He prayed for - Joh 11:22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
3. Jesus reminded people that He could have asked for deliverance from the cross, and would have got it! - Mt 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
4. Why pray if you have no idea if it will do any good or not? Jesus shows us that we ought to have Confidence in the God we pray to, and holiness in our lives so that we can be heard in heaven!
5. Oh that we prayed believing, and lived like we really wanted to receive answers to our prayers!
C. Jesus Worked Hard at Praying.
1. Fasting takes hard work - Mt 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
2. Forgiving takes hard work - Mr 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
3. Loving takes hard work - Lu 6:28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
4. To Stay praying takes hard work - Lu 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
5. Praying when worn out takes hard work:
a. Lu 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
b. Lu 22:44-46 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
D. Jesus Expects us to Pray. To believe God enough to ask; to work hard enough at it to wait on Him; and to make it a priority in our lives, even more important than food sometimes!
1. Mt 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
2. Mt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
3. Mt 6:5-7 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
4. Mt 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
5. Mt 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
6. Joh 14:13,14 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
7. Joh 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
A. Illustration. African villagers noticed a man’s hut and the grass around it. They said, “Where do you live?” He replied, “Here, in this hut.” They responded, “That cannot be, because there is no pathway worn through the grass." You see, a man’s life leaves paths, especially if they are travelled every day, and many times during a day. The same is true in your prayer life – is there a lot of grass growing in your path of prayer? There was NONE in Jesus’!
B. What place does prayer hold in your life tonight? Let’s agree together right here that we will make praying our top priority!
C. What does everyone need to do this morning?
1. Start by saying to God, “I’m sorry – so sorry for neglecting my time of prayer with you God!”
2. Then, MAKE a time for your first prayer – call it, your Launching Pad – where you first pray in your day. Right after waking up
3. Then, make a list – simple, complex – just make a list and keep it special and up to date with needs, names and praise
4. Then, begin to praise God – thank Him for at least a dozen things and events in your life – just for loving you!
5. Then, ask, seek, and knock on the door of heaven, and bring your requests to God, believing that He so wants to answer your prayers
6. Allow God to do His will – He might know something better than you
7. Finish it by claiming the power that is in the name of Jesus Christ
8. And then keep praying for those things throughout the day, all the while, praising, and resting in His goodness and love!
D. And THEN, Philippians 4:7 gets activated in your life: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”