The Essence of Prayer XVII – Lessons from Christ’s Prayer Life

Although there were some prayers recorded for the Lord Jesus, there are more places where it is simply recorded that He prayed.

We can learn from the example of the Lord Jesus as a Man of prayer, living a life of prayer.  We find Him praying for extended periods of time, at all times of the day and night, Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12, 13.  He prayed all night before He called out the twelve to be His closest disciples.  When unusual things occurred, the Lord Jesus was praying.  Luke 3:21, 22 records that at the baptism of the Lord Jesus it was while He prayed that the Holy Spirit descended on Him.  Luke also records that the Lord Jesus would often “slip away” to pray.  He lived in general in the Father’s presence.

The Lord Jesus emphasizes prayer by teaching on prayer.  In Luke 11 it is while the Lord Jesus is praying that His disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray.  Prayer is learned by hearing others pray with unction.  Hearing the earnest prayers of others make us want to pray.

The Lord Jesus exhorts to prayer.  In Luke 18 He gives the parable saying that “men always ought to pray”.  There are numerous exhortations to watch and pray.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26:36-42; Mark 14:32-39; Luke 22:39-46; He is in agony in His own prayer but He breaks away to exhort the disciples to pray.  He clearly had the notion of the essential necessity of prayer.

He not only was an example to prayer, emphasized prayer, and exhorted to prayer, He also encouraged the disciples by prayer.  In Luke 22:31, 32 He tells Peter He has prayed for him when Satan was going to tempt him.  John 17 records His prayer for all believers.  It can be a great encouragement to hear that someone is praying us in a time of difficulty.

For the Lord Jesus, the greater the difficulty, the more prayer there seems to have been.  The greatest extent of prayer is recorded in the last two weeks of His life.  No matter what was going on, the more dire the need, the more He prayed.

What are the lessons for us?

–Even as the God-Man, He is praying to God as a Man.  Even after the resurrection He lives by faith.  He asks earnestly for the things He has need of.  We must likewise come in faith and trust to the Father.

–He had a basic need for communion with the Father, like food or breathing.  We must know that same need for ourselves.

—He asks earnestly for His needs and we see God answering Him.  In the Garden God sends angels to strengthen Him.  We must come earnestly to God for our needs.

–He always felt the necessity for prayer.  The more we pray, the more we feel our need for prayer.


The Psalms are primarily records of prayer.  The impetus for prayer is Christ’s work to bring us into God’s presence.  The Lord Jesus always did His Father’s bidding; He always came to the Father in obedience.  The one who is obeying and is in desperate need comes to the Father for all his needs.