If you missed out on how to cure pessimistic prayers by eradicating doubt and cynicism, check out these links first.
Then come back here to follow up with using Jesus’ example for your new prayer life.
Part 3: Jesus, Your Example
Why did Jesus pray? You would think Jesus, as the Son of God, wouldn’t need to pray, or at least he wouldn’t need an exact prayer time. Due to his divine connection to his Father he’d already be in a constant state of prayer. He’s got a direct line, right? But, Jesus seemed to need time alone with God. He created an example of prayer. You should follow it.
If Jesus needed to pull away from people and the noise of life to pray, then it makes sense that you need to as well. Efficiency, multitasking, and busy-ness all kill intimacy with God. You can’t get to know God on the run. Even though you have a long commute to the office, scientists proved focus on the traffic, the radio, your coffee, and a quick prayer at the same time is not possible. Jesus demonstrated by action how alone time is focused only on God.
Let’s take a look at a few prayer examples you can follow…
Jesus’ Example of Praying to Refresh and Refill
“After sending them home, [Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone” Matthew 14:23.
As a reminder, Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, so even he needed time to rest. The long day of speaking to the crowds left him empty and exhausted. The one place where he knew he could refresh and refill was in the presence of his Father, alone.
You need to follow this example. After a long day, don’t stretch out in front of the TV or computer in a vegetative state binge watching Longmire…seriously. Refresh and refill in the presence of God before your head hits the sheets. You’ll find you are more ready than ever to face the next day when it arrives.
Jesus’ Example of Praying for Strength, and Power
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray” Mark 1:35.
Jesus’ ministry kept him very busy; each day filled teaching his apostles, speaking to crowds, healing the lame and sick, and performing other miraculous wonders. He needed to regain the strength he spent the day before to complete the will of God in the now.
Here is your example through Jesus: start the day off in the presence of God to gain new, fresh power to complete the tasks which lay ahead. Otherwise, your strength quickly gets zapped by the end of the week and you’re left wondering how you’ll make it come Monday morning.
Jesus’ Example of Praying for Peace, Comfort, and Strength
“They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, ‘Sit here while I go and pray.’ He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by” Mark 14:32-35.
Jesus bore a great weight – the weight of dying for the past, present, and future sins of all people. It would make sense for him to spend considerable amounts of time in communication with God, the Father. In this passage, he is seeking God for peace, comfort, and strength to accomplish God’s will.
Have you faced a significant weight? Of course, you have; I have too. Jesus’ example is perfect for this situation because he didn’t try to stand on his own. No, he went to the source of strength, peace, and comfort to receive those things to forge ahead. Thank God he did!
You are no wonder-woman (sorry to say) so you, too, need to heed Jesus’ example by going to the source of strength, peace, and comfort and fill up at the well of Living Water.
Jesus’ Example of Praying During Retreat
“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” Luke 5:16.
It’s no wonder how Jesus handled the pressures of ministry so well. He wisely took chunks of time away in the “wilderness” to communicate with God. Most pastors I know try to adopt short retreats a few times a year to continue staying in the center of God’s will.
But, I’m not talking about pastors in this situation. Pastors are like you and me – they are human beings saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. They aren’t close to God because of their title, or saintly, or without sin. Nope, time to take them down from the pedestal and look at them eye-to-eye because they follow Jesus’ example of getting alone for a retreat just like you should.
Your sole purpose in a retreat (which, at the very least, should be annual, by the way), is for prayer. There are thousands of prayer retreat centers all over the world, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find a place of respite to follow Jesus’ example – retreat for prayer.
God uses alone time to strip away the noise of the world. If you need help lowering the volume on your noisy life, check out my blog 3 Tips to Overcoming the Noise in the Quiet Place.Once in a place of purposeful, focused prayer, God speaks right into your heart Click To Tweet
Once in a place of purposeful, focused prayer, God speaks right into your heart, which brings me to the last example…
Jesus’ Example of Praying for Guidance
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles” Luke 6:12-13a.
Guidance. One of the most important areas you need for your Christian journey. Jesus used prayer to find direction when choosing the apostles. As a great example, he often moved away to his “secret place” to gain direction from God. He understood his identity as a dependent child of God (John 5:19).
It’s time for you to grab hold of your identity as a child of God who needs daily guidance in all areas of your life. Jesus knew he could not do life on his own, that’s why you’ll find examples page after page after page in the gospels of Jesus getting alone to pray. He defined himself only in relationship to God, not as God, so you shouldn’t be the god of your life either. Follow Jesus’ example and pray for guidance.
I know you’re tired of your feelings of phoniness, doubt, and cynicism. I know you’re seeking a dramatic change, but you’re not sure where to start. If you missed the first two parts of this blog, visit here to begin learning how. But quickly the first thing you need to do is repent as it is the beginning of breaking the chains weighing you down. Secondly, you need to step up your prayer life by following Jesus’ example.
Now, it’s completely up to you. Eradicating doubt and cynicism to cure your pessimistic prayer life and turning it into a blossoming optimistic relationship with God takes effort. I never said the process was easy, but it is entirely worth the energy.
Trust Jesus. He’s the Perfect Example.