Quite often, when a reference is made to the prayer life of Jesus, the focus is usually on the “Lord’s Prayer.” (Mt 6:5-15). However, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
This practice of Jesus goes far beyond the Lord’s prayer. In fact, the Lord’s prayer is not about the prayer of the Lord at all. It is more of a model prayer for the disciples.
Jesus said to them, when you pray, say, our father who art in heaven and so on. Interestingly though, Jesus’ prayer in John 17, commonly referred to as the “high priestly” prayer, is an actual prayer of Jesus that John records.
It seems evident from the scriptures that the primary ministry of Jesus, while He was on the earth, was prayer.
It appears that He occasionally would come away from praying to carry out some tasks assigned to Him by the Father, and immediately after completing the job, He would go right back into prayer.
However, while it is easier to have the overall impression that His focus was preaching, teaching, and healing, nonetheless, more of His time was spent with His Father in prayer than may appear from a casual glance at the scriptures.
The quantity and quality of His prayer life are uniquely unmatched in history. It is apparent from the way He prayed that He clearly understood that His success in ministry and the fulfilment of His divine mandate solely depended on prayer.
Rightly so, we will later examine the value of prayer as He confronted the forces of darkness in the garden of Gethsemane.
Undoubtedly, He understood the actual value of prayer, its importance to personal development, and the fulfilment of the purpose of God for our lives and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Jesus did nothing outside of the Father’s will and purpose. In several places in the gospel of John, Jesus made it clear that He is not operating out of His own initiative but rather in collaboration with the Father’s will and purpose.
John discloses in John 5:19-20, “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.”
Further, in John 12:49-50: Jesus made a fascinating statement, “I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it.
And I know his commands lead to eternal life, so I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” Based on what He said, we observed the integral integration between Himself and the Father.
The relationship between the two and the Holy Spirit, who facilitate the integration, is uniquely intense and humanly unimaginable. For example, in John 10:30, Jesus said, “The Father and I are one.” (Not a reference to singularity).
Again, in John 6:63, Jesus said, “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”
In other words, Jesus is saying that the words He speaks are from the Spirit, and they produce eternal life. This is what I call the cycle of prayer.
From the heart of the Father to the Holy Spirit, then to the heart of Jesus, and back to the Father. He prays back to the Father what He receives from the Father through the Holy Spirit.
This concept enables Him to be effective and successful in ministry and to have all His prayers answered because they are done in accordance with the will of the Father.
Jesus always has His prayers answered by the Father as it is in line with the purpose of God. The Lord is not obligated to answer a prayer not in line with His purpose.
James 4:3 “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”