Study 6 CHRIST, THE MAN OF PRAYER
PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Luke 22:31-46)
In 1 Peter 2:21 we read that Jesus is our great example. Not only in the matter of suffering, but in every respect He shows us how we as His followers should live, and not least He is our great example in the life of prayer. All four Gospels are necessary in giving us a complete view of our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew presents Him as the King; Mark reveals Him as the servant of Jehovah; Luke shows Him as the perfect Man; and John declares His deity. It was as man that Jesus prayed, and in this study we shall notice the seven occasions which Luke tells us about.
1. Luke 3:21-22: it was in the place of prayer that the Lord Jesus was definitely anointed with the Holy Spirit for His public ministry.
Only Luke tells us that at His baptism our Lord prayed, and it was while He was praying that the Holy Spirit came upon Him and anointed Him for His future public service (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). He could not begin His ministry until He had been “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49); and you and I are utterly unable to launch out into any work for the Lord until we have been empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). The explanation of much of the failure that results from our Christian service lies in the fact that we work without the clothing of power; we have not waited for the anointing of the Spirit of God, and consequently our service is rendered in the energy of the flesh and not in the power of the Spirit. How does this heavenly anointing come? It comes in answer to prayer – look up Luke 11:13; Acts 1:13-14; 2:4; 4:23-31. We can never accomplish the work of God without the power of the Spirit of God, and we shall never know the empowering of the Spirit of God unless we know what it is to spend much time in the place of prayer.
2. Luke 5:15-17: the Lord Jesus prayed after times of public service.
He prayed before such times, of course, but the important thing to notice is that He prayed after! From the context we learn that Jesus had just touched a leper, as a result of which virtue had gone out of Him, and then we are told that everyone was talking about His ‘fame’ (v. 15, KJV). Here are three reasons why our Lord needed to pray after He had engaged in service:- (1) because of His contact with sinful humanity; (2) because virtue had gone out of Him; and (3) because of the danger and snare of popularity. Every servant of God needs encouragement, but one of the Devil’s greatest traps for preachers is that of flattery and carnal congratulation. How often the Devil tries this tactic, robbing the Lord of the glory which is due to His Name!
3. Luke 6:12-13: the Lord Jesus prayed before making great decisions.
On this occasion He was just about to call and choose the twelve apostles, but before doing so He spent a whole night in prayer. Every day we have to make important decisions to do with the home, our work, marriage, finance etc. We can only make right decisions as we know what it is to spend much time alone with God in prayer. “…in everything, by prayer…” (Philippians 4:6).
4. Luke 9:18-20: the Lord Jesus prayed for spiritual understanding to be given to His disciples.
They were very slow to understand the truths He wanted to give to them, and we see that Jesus had a special session of prayer for them that they might see the truth which He was about to impart to them. Constantly the Apostle Paul prayed for his converts and for those to whom he wrote his Letters, that they might be granted spiritual illumination and enlightenment (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:9 are examples). By nature we are spiritually blind and cannot appreciate the truth of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:14). What a difference it would make if, before our preaching services and times of studying God’s Word, we should pray earnestly for ourselves and for others – Psalm 119:18!
5. Luke 9:28-29; while the Lord Jesus prayed He was transfigured.
Notice the words “as he was praying” (verse 29), and as we pray the same thing happens to us (2 Corinthians 3:18). With so many troubled faces in the world today, one of the greatest ways a Christian can witness is simply by living amongst people with a face that is not troubled but transfigured – as was the face of Moses (Exodus 34:29) and of Stephen (Acts 6:15) – see Psalm 34:5.
6. Luke 11:1: while the Lord Jesus prayed others were drawn to pray.
While Jesus was alone praying the disciples discovered Him and watched Him, and then asked if He would teach them to pray. When we meet a praying Christian we feel we want to learn more of the Christian life and the power of prayer. Is anyone encouraged to pray by our example? Do we have regular prayer times and attend church prayer meetings? – or are we careless and lazy? – perhaps prayer means little or nothing to us. How unlike Jesus we are if we are not constantly waiting before Him in prayer.
7. Luke 22:41-42: it was in the place of prayer that the will of the Lord Jesus was laid down in full and unconditional surrender.
Of course His will has always been laid down, but when Jesus approached the supreme purpose for which He had come into the world, He reaffirmed before God that at all costs He was determined to do His will. Can we truthfully pray the last part of Acts 21:14?