Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 26 July 21:
Luke 6:12-13 — In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles….
Jesus modelled decision-making for us. His decisions came out of tremendous prayer. Consider the following observations from Henry T. Blackaby:
“It was common knowledge among the disciples that they would find Jesus praying during the early morning hours. When they needed Him, they knew to go to the place of prayer. When Judas betrayed Jesus, he led his cohorts to Jesus’ place of prayer.
Every time the Lord Jesus faced an important decision, He prayed. When He was being tempted to do things by the world’s methods instead of the Father’s, He prayed (Matt. 4). When it was time to choose His disciples, He prayed the entire night (Luke 6:12). The Son of God spent a whole night in prayer before choosing the twelve disciples. How long might it take us in prayer to clearly determine our Father’s will?
Because Jesus was so often surrounded by crowds, He knew He must find a quiet place so He could clearly hear His Father’s voice. Jesus had many people seeking to influence the direction of His life. His disciples wanted Him to go where the crowds were (Mark 1:37). The crowds wanted to crown Him king (John 6:15). Satan tempted Him to make compromises in order to draw a following (Matt. 4:3, 6,9).
Jesus knew that His mission was not to attract a crowd, but to remain obedient to His Father. It was prayer that set the agenda for Jesus’ ministry (Luke 6:12). Prayer preceded the miracles (John 11:42-43); prayer brought Him encouragement at critical moments (Luke 9:28-31); prayer enabled Him to go to the cross (Luke 22:41-42); and prayer kept Him there despite excruciating pain (Luke 23:46). Follow the Savior’s example, and let your time alone with God, in prayer, set the agenda for your life.”
- Mark 1:35 — “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
- Luke 5:16 — “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
- Luke 22:44 — “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Jesus prayed continuously, passionately, and intensely. When challenges came, He prayed even more. Also, Jesus made it clear that some problems can be solved by nothing but prayer — “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:29) Jesus modelled the sort of prayer which the Bible teaches us is effectual: fervent (vehement) and perseverant prayer, not just desultory, casual, or dull. The prayers of the righteous come from the depths of the heart and are, as Paul described, a continual struggle, a wrestling within, or a pouring out of the soul before the Lord. (Colossians 4:12) However, this intense prayer is not desperate or hopeless prayer but rather confident prayer on the sovereignty, sufficiency, and providence of the Lord – “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (1 John 5:14) “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7)
- Ephesians 6:18 — Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 — Pray without ceasing….
- Romans 12:12 — Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- Colossians 4:2 — Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
- James 5:17 — Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 — Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
How is your prayer life?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 July 21: Prioritize prayer this day forward – “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
- “I have so much to do today that I’m going to need to spend three hours in prayer in order to be able to get it all done…. Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” (Martin Luther)