Christianity 201

September 5, 2012

Jesus Said More Than The Lord’s Prayer

NIV 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Today we have a guest post from Clark Bunch who blogs at The Master’s Table and was gracious enough to write this just for us!

 
Jesus Said More Than the Lord’s Prayer
 
Sometimes as Christians we get this odd idea that the more involved we are in ministry, or the closer to God we feel, the less we need to pray.  Rather than argue against this premise, let’s take a look at the Gospels and once again consider what Jesus would do.  In this case we don’t have to guess, there is plenty of material on the prayer life of Jesus.
 
1. Jesus prayed early in the morning.  In Mark 1:35 Jesus went out to pray “while it was still dark,” in other words before first light.  He made prayer his first priority, before doing anything else.  There’s an old saying about praying when all else fails.  Jesus prayed before trying anything else.  He began each day by connecting with God his father.  
 
2. Jesus prayed before important events.  In this same passage (Mark 1:35-39) Jesus spends time in prayer before beginning his ministry in Galilee.  He spent time in prayer and fasting before beginning his public ministry, and we will say more about his prayer in Gethsemane in a moment; that was the night before his trial and crucifixion.  Before major events that marked a change in his ministry, Jesus spent extra time and energy in prayer.  Before calling the Twelve (Luke 6:12) he prayed all night.  
 
3. Jesus taught his disciples to pray.  The Gospels record the public ministry of Jesus, in which he preached to the multitudes, and also private teachings with a much smaller audience.  Sometimes it’s just the 12 apostles and sometimes he is with a much smaller group than the throng of followers.  His disciples asked him to teach them to pray, and he gave them what has become known as the Lord’s Prayer.  I prefer Model Prayer or Disciples’ Prayer to calling it the Lord’s Prayer.  
The model he gave them was a teaching tool.  He kept it simple to illustrate the important parts one should include in prayer, but that is not the prayer Jesus said each time he prayed. The High Priestly prayer of Jesus (John 17) is how Jesus himself prays, especially in his “new role” as our High Priest and advocate with the Father.  
 
4. Jesus prayed ’till it hurt.  We’ve already mentioned Jesus praying at Gethsemane before his arrest and false trial.  This story is recorded in all of the Gospels, but Luke makes an interesting note in 22:44.  Luke, described by the Apostle Paul as his beloved physician, says that Jesus prayed until “his sweat became as great drops of blood.”  It is possible during times of great physical duress for one’s capillaries to break under the skin and for blood to escape, probably mixed with sweat, through the skin.  Rather than debate if he was bleeding, don’t miss this point: Jesus was not only praying he broke a sweat.  “Now I lay be down to sleep” is not going to do that to a person.  Jesus never taught lessons until he sweat drops of blood; he never healed the sick, raised the dead, preached sermons, walked on water, feed the crowds nor anything else until he sweat blood.  The only time we see this in the Gospels is while he was praying.  
 
The notion that the closer we get to God the less time we need to spend in prayer is misguided.  Jesus was the Son of God, the very incarnation of God robed in flesh, and he made prayer a priority each day.  No one has ever been closer to God the Father than Jesus himself.  There are many more accounts of Jesus praying than those listed above, but let me leave you with this one: Jesus prayed on the cross.  Even while Roman soldiers drove nails into his hands, and the Jewish leaders watched and mocked, he prayed for those crucifying him.  “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  Jesus was literally dying; what’s our excuse not to pray? 
~Clark Bunch
The purpose of The Master’s Table is to promote the centrality of Christ in the scriptures. In the Last Supper, Jesus is in the center. In our lives, churches, Bible study, witnessing, blogging, etc. Jesus Christ should be at the center.

Image:  Purchase today’s image as an unframed print at Cross Into Your Life.

4 Comments »

  1. Reading this again here I see typographical errors that I missed before. “Blooding” in point 4 should be “bleeding.” I guess we are each our own worst critic. Thanks Paul for the opportunity.

    Comment by Clark Bunch — September 5, 2012 @ 6:24 pm | Reply

    • Actually, I thought it was a rather creative expression.
      But I’ll fix it for you.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — September 5, 2012 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  2. […] latest post, Jesus Said More Than the Lord’s Prayer, is featured at Christianity 201.  Paul adds new content daily from a variety of sources, so be […]

    Pingback by I’ve Got Friends in Blog Places « The Master's Table — September 5, 2012 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  3. “That in ALL things Christ might have the preeminence” comes to mind.
    If He is given the preeminence, we will be in constant prayer because we will be dependent on Him.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — September 6, 2012 @ 4:45 am | Reply


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