Reading Scripture: Luke 22:39-44
Verse to Memorize: Luke 22:44
Reference: Jeremiah 33:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Goal: to help the church members receive answers and blessings by resembling Jesus who showed the best example of prayer and offering up the fragrance of prayer that pleases God.
If you love your parents you often have conversations with them about what happened in school or your workplace. If you need something, you freely ask them for it and express your love towards them. In the same manner, we as God’s children can also have a conversation of love with God the Father; it is in prayer.
God, who is spirit, wants to communicate with His beloved children and share deep love with them. Jesus, who is one with God, came to the earth in flesh and demonstrated the best prayer to us. Prayer is the key to receiving answers and the passage of blessing that God has given to His children. What are the right ways of prayer that Jesus taught us?
1. The Lord’s Prayer as recorded in the Bible
In Matthew 6 and Luke 11 appears the prayer Jesus Himself taught. It is the Lord’s Prayer. It includes the necessary things that our prayers to God the Father as His children should contain. When you meditate on the Lord’s Prayer you will be given strength to pray by the help of the Sprit more systematically.
Then, what are included in the prayer that Jesus taught us? The prayer starts with ‘Our Father who is in heaven’. It shows who listens to and accepts the prayer. It is similar to our writing “Dear ? in a letter to someone.
It continues with “Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This part of the prayer lifts up the holy name of God the Father. And it is prayer for the kingdom of God to be accomplished in His good will. It indicates that we should seek God’s kingdom first before we pray for what we need.
Then, the prayer for us and our neighbors proceeds. “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” As said, Jesus taught us to ask for what we need, pray to forgive and love those around us, and pray not to be led to temptation.
At the end of the prayer is “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” This glorifies God with love and thanksgiving to Him included in the prayer. As explained, the Lord’s Prayer shows keys to praying and what kind of prayer is pleasing to God.
2. Jesus is the best model of prayer
Even though Jesus is the Son of God the Creator, He didn’t cease to pray. Since Jesus knew the heart and will of God better than anybody else, He performed His ministry with prayer that pleased God. In the following verses from Luke 22:39 appears Jesus’ prayer that He gave on Gethsemane before the crucifixion. With what kind of prayer did Jesus take the sufferings of the cross and overcome the enemy devil and Satan?
1) He prayed habitually
In order to keep in shape, eating regular meals is very important. If you skip your meals frequently or eat irregularly, it can disrupt gastrointestinal function that can result in health problems. The same applies to prayer. Just as we can gain the source of energy through regular meals, we can be provided with spiritual strength from God only when we pray on a regular basis. We can overcome the world and triumph over the enemy devil and Satan.
Unless you pray habitually, you can’t receive the grace and strength of God. It might cause you to lose the fullness of the Spirit and cause you to become disheartened. You may not watch over your heart and fall into the temptation of sin. God wants His children to pray unceasingly as said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. He will drive away trials that are coming when we pray without ceasing. Even if trials come to us, if we have spiritual power that has been accumulated, we will not be tempted by Satan and we will live victorious lives.
It is good to pray habitually by assigning a specific time for prayer. If you give thanks to God for giving you the day in the early morning and offer up the prayer of thanksgiving at night before going to bed, how lovely it is to God the Father!
2) Jesus prayed on bended knees
When you ask for something of your parents or your superiors, you will naturally ask politely in proper posture. How much more polite should we be when asking for something of God the Almighty? We can’t pray in poor posture. Jesus, who is the Son of God, knelt down in humble posture while praying. The same applies to the fathers of faith such as Apostle Paul (Acts 20:36) and Deacon Stephen (Acts 7:60). Kneeling down before God signifies our reverence towards Him and trust in His strength.
Of course, we are sometimes in a situation where we can’t kneel down. We must straighten up our posture and pray with humbleness. But as long as you can, it is better for you to pray on bended knees. It could be hard to kneel down in prayer at first but if you keep doing so for five minutes, ten minutes, and more, you can pray on bended knees for an hour or even two hours.
3) Jesus prayed in accordance with God’s will
Jesus said in prayer before His crucifixion, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” He knew the will of God who wants to lead all men to the way of salvation. Some people do not pray in the will of God but instead pray in their own will. For example, they say in prayer, “God, if You answer my prayer, I will give You a great amount of offering.” Others say whatever pleases them and after they pray they may say, “I believe that it will be done as I pray.” Some even complain, grumble, and lose heart if answers do not come to them after a while.
Still others say, “God, why isn’t my business booming though I am leading a diligent Christian life? Give me financial blessing quickly.” It’s nothing more than grumbling toward God. Moreover, if you pray with selfish motives, you can’t receive answers. You have to offer up prayer that is right according to the will of God and it should be a prayer of goodness.
You must commit everything to God in prayer. When you pray with thanksgiving believing in the love of God who causes all things to work together for good and gives good things always, God will lead you to the best way.
4) Jesus prayed fervently, putting all His strength into prayer
Luke 22:44 reads, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.” The temperature was low in Gethsemane so people rarely sweated there. Nevertheless, Jesus prayed very fervently so His sweat became like drops of blood, which makes us know how much fervently He prayed.
God gave a promise in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” It is important to call to God in prayer because we can pray without idle thoughts and drowsiness by calling out to God in prayer. Also, this kind of prayer fills you with the Spirit and drives away the enemy devil and Satan. So, God cannot only provide you with answers but He can also tell you great and mighty things.
The members of Early Church prayed fervently even in great persecutions and pleased God being in the fullness of the Spirit. Even today, in the church where the members call to God in prayer and live according to the will of God, the Holy Spirit can work and the signs and wonders can unfold, which causes great revival.
But some churches teach their members that praying quietly is an act of piety or holiness. Of course, you sometimes have to pray quietly. We must be quiet in prayer when we pray just before worship services or when we pray late at night since it can cause neighbors to suffer. If it is not the case, we have to call to God in prayer. When we call out in prayer even to the point of sweating, God gives us grace and strength and blesses us with answers.