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The Prayer Life of Jesus
Let us see what the prayer life of Jesus is like. There is nothing more characteristic of Jesus than His prayer life. When God puts Christ in us, He will be living out His prayer life in us. Your prayer life will take on the characteristics of Christ and the fruit of that. When Jesus prayed, it adjusted His life to the activities and purposes of the Father. Paul puts it this way: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). Christ was the instrument through which God brought redemption to the whole world.
You need to be very conscious of the prayer life of Jesus because as He lives out His life in you, He is going to shape your prayer life to be more and more like Him. Now the bottom line of the prayer life of Jesus and, therefore, of your prayer life also, is going to be, "Not My will, but Thine be done" (Luke 22:42). When all the praying is over and all the mind and heart of the Father have been laid over your life, there will come a spontaneous cry from the heart of the Lord Jesus in you, "Not my will, but Yours be done."
But you need to understand the depth of the experience that Jesus went through in His prayer life. I do not know of any few verses in the entire Bible that describe the prayer life of Jesus more thoroughly and more completely than these verses in Hebrews 5:7-9: "
who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard...." Did that mean He was saved from death? He was heard. This gives you a new understanding of what it means for God to hear you when you pray. God did hear Jesus, and the answer was something like this: "No, Son. I cannot save You and the world at the same time." There have been moments in my life when I have cried unto God for Him to remove certain things, and the answer has come back, "No, I cannot remove those things from you and do My will through you at the same time."
He "was heard because of His godly fear" (v. 7). One of the other translations says, "
because of His reverent submission." Why was He heard? Because of His heart that was submitting to the Fathers will regardless of what it would look like. So the Father heard Him and then it says, "
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered" (v. 8).
Do you have problems with obedience? Let me suggest that the Christ who is living out His life in you and seeking to conform your obedience to His obedience, may take you through some times where you cry unto Him with strong crying and tears and those strong crying and tears come after a prolonged attempt to get God to do what you feel would be best. And the answer comes back, "No, I cannot do what you are asking and do My will at the same time. I cannot spare your life and the life of others."
Many have been the missionaries who wrestled through that. And there have been many parents of missionaries who have cried out night and day to God not to send their child and their grandchildren across the world. They have cried out to God with agony and tears, "O, Lord, dont let my children take my grandchildren across the world from me!" and the answer comes back, "No, I cannot spare your child and save a people for whom Christ died at the same time. I cannot have your child stay home and the people over there hear the Gospel. Ive got to take your child and thrust him or her into a people group that have never yet heard, and that is My purpose. Ive got to deny your request, because there is a whole people group who would never hear if I granted your request." Christ is trying to conform His people to His image as they pray.
If you look at this prayer moment in the life of Jesus, it says, "in the days of His flesh" that is, while He was living out His everyday life (v. 7). It is in the middle of your everyday life that Christ will begin to fashion your prayer life to be like His. Verse 7 also says that He offered up strong prayers and supplications, and the word "supplications" means that not only did He pray but He profoundly entreated God, earnestly pled with God, and He did so with strong crying and tears to the One He knew could answer Him.
Has He been developing that kind of prayer life in you? Have you found there are some things on your heart that you wished God would deal with? It may be the salvation of your grandchild. It may be that you want God to take one of your children out of the setting in which he or she is now in. It may be the companions that one is with, or it may be that you suddenly realize one of your children is dating a non-believer or a profane person and may want to marry that person. You have spoken but nothing has happened, so with strong crying and tears you are pleading with God to remove this situation. Has the Lord Jesus brought you into that kind of praying?
I am convinced there will never be a mighty move of God until somehow the prayer life of Jesus gets ahold of some of us, and that it would be written of our life in this time, with "prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears," were finding ourselves united with Christ in beseeching the Father to do a work in our generation, in our nation and in our city. Since Gods provision is to put His Son in you, you can count on it.
Prayer was the most outstanding characteristic of Jesus life, and we have here in Hebrews one of the most beautiful pictures of His prayer life, but it is an agonizing one. Most of us would sense that it is describing Gethsemane, that ultimate moment when Jesus pled with the Father. We have an insight into what Jesus prayed in Gethsemane in three different Gospels, and they have put it differently. Paraphrasing it, one says, "Father, if it is possible, remove this cup from Me
" (Matt. 26:39). In Luke 22:42 Jesus says, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me." But in Marks Gospel is that agonizing cry from the heart of Jesus where He uses that intimate term, "Abba" the tenderest expression of a child to his father. "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me" (Mark 14:36).
I often try to put myself in that moment to say, I wonder how long the silence was, and I wonder what the voice of Jesus sounded like. Maybe it was a broken voice when He cried out:" ...nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." The bottom line for all the prayer life of Jesus was "
not My will, but Thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). At that moment the Father read His heart and said something like this: "Now, My will shall be done. And You will learn obedience in the days to come, obedience to My will by what You suffer." Then comes the arrest in Gethsemane, the beating, and then the cross. And the Lord Jesus, out of the depths of His heart could look up into the face of the Father and say, "Father, I have finished the work which You have given Me to do
. It is finished!" and He died (John 17:4; 19:30). Gods great plan to redeem a world was set in motion. The death of Christ to deal with sin was complete.
Then there had to be a resurrection, for if there were no resurrection, sin had won a victory, and we would still be in our sin. In Ephesians chapter 1 it is written that all the power of the universe and all the power of God reached into the grave and not only raised Jesus from the dead, but raised Him over all principality and power, and might and dominion and every name that can be named and put them all under the feet of Jesus and sat Him at His own right hand! And then gave Him to be head over everything for every local church. -Henry Blackaby
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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon