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We begin to read today about the ministry of Jesus. One of the notable features of Jesus’ ministry, as related by Luke, is the emphasis on prayer. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus is shown to be engaged in prayer only twice per Gospel (Matt. 14:23; 27:46 and Mark 6:46;15:34). However, Luke indicated Jesus to be in prayer on nine different occasions. In addition, Luke gave evidence of Jesus’ first and last words from the cross being prayer, giving us a total of Jesus praying 11 times. Luke also gave evidence of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in 11:9-10, 18:1, 18:9-14, 21:36, and 22:46.
Some of those examples of prayer occur in our reading today. Luke 3:21 records Jesus at his baptism, at the beginning of his ministry. As He was praying, Heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him and the audible voice of God was heard. Luke 5:16 records a summary statement about the practice of Jesus in prayer even as people came to Him with sickness. Then, Luke recorded that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before selecting the disciples (6:12).
Every time I read about the prayer life of Jesus I get really convicted about my prayer life. If Jesus needed to pray in order to be refreshed and in times of momentous decision, how much more do we need to pray?
Perhaps, someone will raise the question, “If Jesus was God, why did He even need to pray? Why did He need to seek the will of God? Why did He need to pray for strength?” Jesus lived His life on earth as an example for us. Just as we need to model the servant nature of Jesus, we need to model the prayer life of Jesus.
Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com.