Pray without Ceasing
5 Ways To Pray Like Jesus
Out of all the questions we could ask, this is perhaps the most important one: “How can I pray like Jesus?” Thankfully, many of Jesus’ prayers and techniques are recorded in the Gospels for us to learn from. The Lord wants us to know how to pray because He knows how important it is. How powerful and necessary it is! Just like we should strive to live like Jesus, we should strive to emulate Him in our prayer life as well.
Before starting to pray, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself,“Does this prayer reflect only my interests or that of Christ’s?” Are we concerned with the concerns of God or merely our own? Saint Paul once said of people, “For everyone looks out for their own interests; not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 2:21). In the Book of Mark we read, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Mk 8:33).
As humans living on earth, we will of course have worldly concerns. But God wants us to trust Him so fully that our prayers (and the way we pray) evolves to spiritual heights we have not yet experienced. This isn’t to say that God doesn’t care about our simplest cares and desires. He most certainly does! In fact, 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to ‘cast all our anxiety on Him because He cares for us.’ Philippians 4:6 exhorts, “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Yes, God loves to hear everything that is on our heart and mind. But remember, God knows what we need before we ask for it (see Ps. 139:1-4). So if we really want to grab His attention, we are to lovingly pray like our beloved Jesus did on earth. What an honor!
Let’s get started:
1) Prayers Jesus told us to pray
“Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
*Prayer for the sending of laborers (missionaries) into the harvest field.
– Prayers that begin with praise to God (see Best Psalms for Thanksgiving);
– Prayers for the coming of the Kingdom and the completion of God’s will on earth;
– Prayers for the provision of our daily bread;
– Prayers for forgiveness of our (continuous) sins;
– Prayers for protection from temptation and the evil one
2) Prayers Jesus Prayed on Earth
“I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what You were pleased to do.”
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me.
Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”
“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
“Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name!” (John 12:27)
“After Jesus said this, He looked toward Heaven and prayed:
‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.’”
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
– Prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God the Father (see Best Psalms for Thanksgiving);
– Prayers of submission to the will of God;
– Prayers for unbelievers: That they will believe and come to know God and the love of God and Christ Himself may come to dwell in them;
– Prayers for believers: For protection from the enemy (satan); for complete unity with one another and with the triune God; for sanctification; for an effective and infectious witness in the world; and for an ultimate reunion with God.
Notice the ways in which Jesus’ prayers differ from our own. His were spiritual (rather than physical or temporal), for the greater good of others, and in complete submission to the will of the Father. His mind was constantly fixed on things above, on things eternal, just like the apostle Paul encouraged us in Colossians:
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:1-3).
3) Pray Devotedly
There will be plenty of times when a quick prayer will have to suffice. But there should definitely be designated times that we intentionally carve out to pray with God. Jesus’ healing ministry was incredibly important, but He made a point to step away from all of it to pray. In fact, we can infer from Matthew 14:23-25 that Jesus spent quite a bit of time in the actual act of praying. If He started praying, for example, in the evening and then lifted Peter out of the water during the “fourth hour,” the Bible makes clear that Jesus spent somewhere between nine and twelve hours in prayer before performing this miracle. Moreover, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed three separate times throughout the night. There is an old adage: “Those who say they have no time to pray, need to pray longer.” Do as Jesus did and consecrate time specifically for prayer. Begin with ten minutes and increase the intervals from there. One thing is sure … you will never regret it.
5) Pray Persistently
As stated above, Jesus persistently prayed to His Father in the garden of Gethsemane. He also tells us an important story about the persistent and prayerful neighbor as well as a parable about a persistent widow in the Book of Luke (11:58; 18:1-8). Saint Paul reaffirms Jesus’ sentiments by stating simply, yet matter-of-factly, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
In Luke 11:9-13, Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Let us never lose sight of the fact that Prayer is one of the greatest, most powerful gifts God has given to mankind. Through prayer, we have the unfathomable opportunity to commune with the Lord of lords! He hears our every prayer … and He loves a humble, contrite, and trusting heart before Him. When we approach the Throne of Grace, ready and willing to do His will, sky’s the limit to where He will take us! So make it a priority to start praying as Christ did. Set your prayers on the things above. Pray for the greater good of the world, the Church, for your neighbors, and for whatever else God places on your heart. Blessings abound for the one who surrenders their own needs and wants for that of the Lord’s.
May God bless you abundantly!