“…He went up on the mountain by himself to pray.” (Matthew 14:23 RSV)
Jesus was about thirty years old when He began his ministry. From the time He was a young boy, Jesus spent much time in prayer. He was very close to His Heavenly Father.
After Jesus was baptized by John and came up out of the water, Heaven was opened to Him and He saw the Spirit of God come down like a dove and alight on Him. Then a voice from Heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, ESV)
Then the spirit led Jesus into the desert, where He fasted and prayed for forty days and nights. When Jesus was very weak and hungry, Satan tempted Him, but Jesus resisted every one of Satan’s tricks to turn Him away from God (Matthew 4:1-11). His prayers gave Him strength.
Jesus then began His ministry: teaching, preaching, and healing the sick. About prayer, Jesus taught, “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 NASB)
He also urged His followers to pray in ordinary language—like you would talk to a friend. He gave them what we call “The Lord’s Prayer” as a guide for prayer: “Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. 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.” (Matthew 6:9-13 NASB) Jesus also used a parable to teach them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1-8).
Jesus said several times that what He did was not of His own choosing, but He did what His Father told Him to do (John 5:30). Often Jesus would leave His disciples and go off by Himself and spend time in prayer. That is how He knew what His Father wanted Him to do. That is also true for you and me. The more time we spend alone with God, praying and meditating on His Word, the better we will understand what God wants us to do. And the more we do His will, the more blessed we will be.
Set aside time each day to go to a place in your home or elsewhere where you can be alone with God. Take your Bible with you. Pray for understanding of His will. Then read a few verses of Scripture and meditate on it for awhile. Pray again. If you find it helpful, use the Lord’s Prayer as a guide. Give careful thought to every word of the prayer.
Also, have times of prayer with your wife, and a father of valor also prays with his children. You may want to hear the children’s prayers when you put them to bed. They want to hear you pray, Too! They want to understand how you talk to God and what you pray about. They want to know if you are friends with God.
Jesus Prayed for You
Toward the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus said a long prayer for his disciples that they all might really know God, be protected within His will, and know His joy. Then Jesus prayed for all those who would come to believe in Him through hearing the teaching of the disciples. That includes you and me. Jesus prayed that each of us not only believe in Him but be filled with the undeniable love of God as Jesus is (John 17). The closer we draw to God in prayer, the more the Holy Spirit will help us live as men of valor. God loves each of us; Jesus died on the cross for us; and God desires a close friendship with us that is possible only through prayer.