Saturday, September 5, 2015

Let Him Pray.... (Revisit)

A friend of mine posted that on Facebook, awhile back.  And others have shared it more recently.  As we've pointed out before, prayer is close to God’s heart.  How we pray, what we get out of prayer, what our prayer says about our relationship to Him.  It mirrors our thinking in good times and bad.

James 5:13 (KJV)  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

Prayer and praise.  James' recommended prescription for getting through life.  And we have a prime example of that.  In a conversation I was having with someone about their marriage, the person mentioned that Christ prayed often.  And that thought piqued my curiosity.  What were the circumstances?  How often?  What was behind His prayer?

The answers to those questions turn out to be very interesting.  Because, as we look through the Gospels, we see Jesus praying in a variety of circumstances, for a variety of reasons.  And the more we look, the more a picture of Jesus’ thoughts on prayer becomes clear.

One of the very first things Jesus did as He was entering into ministry was be baptized by John the Baptist.  When we look at that in Luke 3, verses 21-22 tell us, “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”  There are a couple of elements to that passage.

The first thing we note is that Jesus was being baptized with others and just like others.  So, when it says, “Jesus also being baptized, and praying”, it very much looks like prayer was part of the baptismal procedure and Jesus obeyed the requirements of the process.  We have to remember that, while some speak of grace doing away with the law, in fact Jesus obeyed the law completely, to the point of being its fulfillment.

When we consider prayer, we also need to think of it as a form of obedience.  The Greek word in the New Testament for “obey” describes it as being beyond just following orders.  It speaks of coming under authority and listening to the source of authority.  Yes, it includes following orders.  But there’s a voluntary choice to do that.

When the Father speaks from heaven, He’s not just validating that Jesus is His Son.  He’s also telling Jesus that He loves Him.  And, secondly, that the Father is pleased with Him.  What pleases the Father, here?  That Jesus was baptized and He prayed (in line with the procedure).  Although on a much higher level, this is akin to “Well done, good and faithful servant.”.  Along with the rest of it, the Father was pleased that Jesus prayed.

There’s always more on Jesus and prayer, but I think the ideas of prayer and obedience, and how they relate to each other are good to stop and meditate on.  As we consider what God’s showing us today, how does this fit into your life?  Does this describe your prayer life?  Or are there areas you can improve?  There’s no condemnation, only ways we can grow closer to God.

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