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3 Practical Lessons from Jesus' Prayer Life We Can Apply Today
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In the first chapter of Mark’s gospel, there’s a scene depicting the earliest days of Jesus’ ministry where he teaches in the Jewish synagogue in Capernaum, casts out a demon, and heals Peter’s mother-in-law, only to have the entire city show up outside of Peter’s house looking for Jesus to continue healing. So, he heals and does battle with demonic spirits into the evening.
It was a long, exhausting day.
Remember, as the incarnate Son of God on earth, Jesus is God, but he also is man with physical limitations. He needed food, sleep, physical rest, and spiritual recharging like the rest of us.
After such a tiring day, we read in verse 35, “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.”
From this simple example, we learn three important and practical lessons.
Lesson #1: Prayer Isn’t a Rule; It’s a Lifeline.
One lesson is that prayer isn’t a rule; it is a lifeline. Prayer is a gift that connects us to the Father. You don’t need a pastor to pray for you in order to be heard by God. In prayer, you, as a disciple of Jesus and child of God, have a direct line to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You have his ear whenever you just talk to God like a child speaks to a Father.
Jesus knew that if he, in his humanity, would have the endurance to fulfill his mission, he would need a lifeline to his Father. That lifeline was prayer, where he was "filled with a renewed assurance, confidence, and hope, knowing that he was not alone but filled with the Spirit, having the love of the Father poured out into his heart—a love that was the fuel for his life and ministry.
This is why prayer is such a gift. It gives us the opportunity to respond to the love and grace of God with practical expressions of thanksgiving, renewing our own assurance, confidence, and hope.
Lesson #2: Prayer Was the Source of Jesus’ Power.
A second lesson is that prayer was the source of Jesus’ power. On numerous occasions, he makes this clear. Listen to several passages from the gospel of John.
“The son can do nothing of his own accord.” (John 5:19)
“I can do nothing on my own.” (John 5:30)
“I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.” (John 8:28)
“The Father who sent me has himself given me... what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49)
Our ability to produce good fruit is only possible as we abide in our union with God through Jesus. After all of those sayings about the source of his authority and power, Jesus says to us in John 15:5, “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”
Just as prayer enabled Jesus to abide in the Father, prayer enables me to express faith by consciously abiding in Jesus as the source of my spiritual life, whereby I receive the supernatural ability to manifest spiritual fruit as a child of God.
Lesson #3: Prayer Centered Jesus’ Identity.
A third lesson is that prayer centered Jesus’ identity. He was the Father’s Son, beloved and accepted, validated at the very onset of his ministry when the Father stated publicly, “This is my son, whom I love.” Jesus didn’t have to earn his Father’s approval. He already had it by nature of his sonship.
The same is true for any adopted child of God.
When we pray, Abba, we are reminded of who we are. I am not an orphan. I’m a son. I’m not alone. My life is not in the hands of chance or fate but is held by the hands—the nail-scarred hands—of Jesus, whose cross is the exclamation point on divine devotion to the Father’s adopted children.