This tomb, seen along the roadside in Israel, reminds me of another tomb where God testified regarding eternal blessing and renewal.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jesus' Individual Instances of Prayer

In a recent post, I wrote that I counted nine individual instances in which Jesus was seen praying in the gospels. That bothered me. It was so few. Since this is part of one of my topics at Pepperdine next week, I have continued to look and read (you just can't find everything with a search, even if you know most of the words to look for!). Short story? I found a few more. So I thought I would publish them here in case anyone wants to add to them. I know some just came to my mind--some will likely come to you, too. My plan is to keep updating this as I think of more or change my mind about what I have already found and its meaning.

I have separated them into three categories, too--just because I am a sorter. :) You might separate them differently, and that is fine, too.

Times Jesus prays for direction or peace; times that more nearly "match" our "quiet time" prayer expectations:
  1. At his baptism--Luke 3.21
  2. Looking for direction after healing late in the night in Capernaum--Mk 1.35
  3. He was praying in Luke when the disicples ask him to teach them to pray--Lk 11.1. I am not counting the "Lord's Prayer" in Matthew here, but as teaching. I am not arguing that he didn't pray as he taught, but I am looking for personal prayer.
  4. The night before he chose his disicples--Luke 6.12
  5. Looking for direction and peace after he feeds the 5,000. Mk 6.46. At this stressful time, he knew that a) the people were planning to come get him to make him king (John 6.15), b) John the Baptist has just been killed (Matthew 14.13), and c) the disciples have just returned from having healed in His Name; they are so busy they can hardly find time to eat (Mark 6.30-31) .
  6. He is praying alone when his followers come and he asks, "Who do people say that I am?" It is here Peter confesses, "You are the Christ." Luke 9.18.
  7. He is praying on the mountain when his face is changed and Elijah and Moses appear. Luke 9.28.
  8. His longest recorded prayer for the disciples and all that will believe through their name is recorded in John 17.
  9. Matthew, Mark and Luke record the prayers in the Garden (John does not. John's Jesus speaks to the synoptic writers' claims in John 12.28; he will not ask to be spared the cross. This prayer is listed below in the second list. Find the synoptics prayers in the garden in Mt. 26.36f; Mark 14.36f, and Luke 22.40f.
Times Jesus prays as if speaking to a person who is standing nearby: (I am having trouble articulating this one. He is always conversational and personal with God, but in these instances, it is like God is physically beside him, directly involved in the situation. I think you will see what I mean.)
  1. Praises God for revealing the truth to little children, rather than the wise and learned. Matthew 11.25
  2. At Lazarus' tomb, he thanks God in the hearing of the people so they will know that he has invoked God's name in this miracle that is about to occur. John 11.41
  3. In speaking of his coming death in John, Jesus tells the disciples (who have brought Greeks to see him) that he is very troubled about what is coming. But, shall he ask to be saved from that suffering? No! Instead he says to God, "Father, do what will bring you glory!" God responds, I have; and I will again."
  4. I would argue especially that the entire time on the cross, Jesus is praying--though it is not what we would normally term as "prayer." Three times we hear him speak directly to the Father: Luke 23.34; 46; and Matthew 27.46 record these utterances, the last of which is committing himself into God's care before he dies.

Other instances when we know Jesus prayed:

  1. The people brought little children to him to be prayed over: Matthew 19.13
  2. Luke says it was his custom to withdraw and pray: Luke 5.16
  3. He tells Peter that he has prayed for him so Peter's faith will not fail: Luke 22.32
  4. He tells the disciples that he will ask the Father and He will send them an Advocate to be with them--the Holy Spirit. John 14.16
  5. He also blesses God for food at the two feedings and at the meal in the upper room.
One more note: Luke 5.33 records that more "religious sorts" did not think that he his disciples were men of prayer: Luke 5.33.

Oh, my!

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