I quickly read the message on my phone. “I prayed for you today”. These five words followed by a small heart were all it took to lift my spirits. It had been a rough day. My kids were struggling, I was feeling pulled a myriad of directions, and peace and quiet were nowhere to be found.
My heart rested on these words as I went through the evening duties of dinner, clean up and bedtime routines. I thought about my friend and the way she consistently welcomed me into her home. I smiled at the ways we laughed and the tears we shed as we told our own stories.
This is life and there is a beautiful intimacy that comes with prayer, specifically as you we grow and connect with one another.
A few years ago I was struck by the realization that Jesus’ prayers create a beautiful model for us to follow. Having just walked through Holy Week, there were several reminders throughout the pages of the gospel where we can see the Sovereign Lord petitioning His Father.
In each situation we find Christ’s time on earth, we are consistently reminded to follow one of His examples.
Christ’s example of prayer points us to the importance of having a thankful heart at all times.
We see Christ thanking God at the feeding of the five thousand, where there were hungry mobs on a hillside. (Matthew 14:19)
Christ gives thanks in prayer as he regularly taught the masses that daily followed Him.
“At that time Jesus declared, I thank you , Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children:…Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:25, 28)
In the midst of deep grief and anguish we hear His heart. Standing at the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus, the first words out of Jesus mouth are “Father, I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:26).
Pray for Others
In addition to giving thanks, Christ’s prayers included praying for others.
Still standing at the tomb of Lazarus, we hear his tear stricken words to his Heavenly Father, “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” (John 11:42)
Christ doesn’t hold back in praying for those who are his own.
In the hours before His own torture and execution, we find Christ kneeling in the Garden. He knows He is about to die, yet he continues to find strength to pray for those around Him.
“I am praying for them, I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me for they are yours”. (John 17:9)
Our prayers for others are never wasted. God uses these to build our own faith and to build the faith of those around us.
Pray God’s Will
Of all of the prayers we see Christ pray in Scripture, this is the area that can be the hardest to wrap our minds around.
Giving thanks can seem natural. Praying for others feels right.
But praying God’s will requires faith and submission. It means letting go of our desires to allow God to complete His work in our lives.
In His holiness, God knows that we can struggle with understanding the reality of His perfect will.
Early in Jesus ministry, a portion of the Lord’s prayer is “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) This was a beautiful guideline for us to follow in our pursuit of a fruitful abundant life.
Headed to the cross we see God submitting to the will of the Father, despite the misery He knew he must endure. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but at you will”. (Matthew 26:39)
Most of the time my desires and plans look very different. However, we can take encouragement from Romans 12:2 where we are reminded to
“…not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God , what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
There is comfort in knowing that Christ set the model for us in prayer, and that He continues to sit at the right hand of God making intercession on our behalf (Romans 8:34).
How can you follow one of these models today? Are there areas you can give God thanks? Can you encourage someone with your prayers? Can you submit to these rough patches we are all finding ourselves?
God is faithful and He delights to hear us. Even more He delights to pray for and with us. Continue on in faith, sister. He loves you!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)