The Prayers Of Jesus

Prayer in Gethsemane
Matthew 26:39

Of all people in Scripture to study about a prayer life, Jesus is great to examine. I combed through each Gospel and tried to research when, where and what Jesus prayed. I want to expose you now to my research of The Prayers of Jesus.

The first time prayer is mentioned or associated with Jesus is documented in Matthew when He is found sitting on a mountainside teaching on the subject of prayer. He is giving instructions on how to keep prayer sacred and providing a pattern of prayer to follow commonly referred to as The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15).

I feel confident you have heard of "Saying Grace" as in saying a prayer or blessing over the food before you eat. The next installment of prayer by Jesus in Matthew 14:19 finds a prayer of thanksgiving, during the evening hours, over the coming miraculous meal of the feeding of five thousand with just five loaves of bread and two fish.

Then after the Feeding of Five Thousand and before Jesus Walks on Water, according to Matthew 14:23-24, He "went up on a mountainside by himself and prayed." You will find that mountainsides and lakes are favorite locales by Jesus. The time-frame was afternoon-to-evening because of Matthew 14:23. We do not know for sure what He prayed, it does not say.

On another mountainside, by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus once again gave thanks for another miracle-meal for four thousand - Matthew 15:36.

In Matthew 19:13-15, little children were brought to Jesus for Him to touch and pray, but according to verse 15 He only touched them. There was no prayer or blessing recorded for this event. This might have been an impartation of what the children needed. However, to mention hands and prayer one time and only laying on of hands the next time is very interesting.

After the Passover Meal, Jesus and His Disciples reclined at the table and Jesus gave thanks and blessed the Passover Bread and Wine (Matthew 26:26-27). So there has been a strong theme of thanking and/or blessing of the food several times already via prayer by Jesus. Thanking The Provider must be important.

Somebody needs to inform Jesus that prayer after a big meal is a recipe for a nap, at least for the Disciples. The Gethsemane Prayers in Matthew 26:36:42 display Jesus singled out Peter and two sons of Zebedee to go pray with and watch. During this time with them He shared that "He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death!" After going a bit further from the group to pray, Jesus prayed, "let this cup pass from me" or please, Father, let this way not be the way, yet not my will or plan, but yours be accomplished. He prayed this prayer two more times!

On The Cross, Jesus cries out to Father God, "'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?'" This is a crying out to God type of prayer in Matthew 27:46. I am glad my Savior cried out so I could have the privilege of doing the same.

Mark's donation is very brief. Mark 1:35 says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." When? "very early in the morning". Where? "a solitary place" outside the house - "Jesus got up, left the house". What did He pray? We don't know for sure.

Luke followed up right on Mark's heels with Jesus' criteria for prayer. Luke 5:16 - "But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." This is not surprising with the masses of people that flocked to Him for all the healings that they needed in their lives.

Another mountainside prayer-time was very special. This time in Luke 6:12 it was an all-nighter and we might be able to take an educated guess at what Jesus prayed about by observing verse 13. The original verse reads - "One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God." Well, we know where and when. The next verse says, "When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:" 

Before this night, it seems Jesus had many followers and disciples. During the night, His prayer might have been for direction in selecting the carriers of His message because in the morning Jesus seems to pull from a large group of His disciples those whom He desired to be an intimate group of twelve Apostles.

Here is an interesting observation - Luke 9:28-29 portrays Jesus, Peter, James and John all on the mountain praying when The Transfiguration of Jesus occurred. Here we see that Christ’s glory and Father God’s voice can be heard in prayer.

In Luke 23:34, "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" Jesus said these words as He approached death hanging on a cross. Because Jesus administered forgiveness even at the point of dying, we too can give forgiveness at this point in our lives. However, we should not wait this long to forgive and/or receive it, but it is available to give and receive until the curtain falls on this chapter of life, after that there is judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Another example of Jesus crying out to Father God is found in Luke 23:46. Once again the scene is Jesus on The Cross and it says, "Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.'" When? "about the sixth hour" (v.44) According to my sources, "the sixth hour" was always the noon or mid-day hour of the day in Jewish tradition.

The first time prayer is associated with Jesus in the book of John is John 11:41-42. Here Jesus is in front of the tomb of one He loves dearly, Lazarus (verses 3, 5, 33, 35) four days after His friend died. 

The prayer was first one of thanksgiving – “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me,”. The second part of the prayer justified His request – “I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’” Then God's power was displayed through the Word of God in flesh as Jesus spoke – “Lazarus, come out!”

John 17 contains the most extensive prayers that I researched Jesus to pray. In the first section, John 17:1-5, Jesus prays for Himself to now be glorified through the obedience that He has displayed to Father God’s plan. "'Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you."

Then Jesus Prays for His Disciples in John 17:6-19. Jesus prays for protection twice (verses 11b and 15). Jesus also prays for sanctification of His Disciples by the Truth - Himself, The Word of God (verse 17).

Finally, Jesus prays for all believers in John 17:20-26. He prays, "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 you have sent me." (verse 21) Jesus prays a second time for "complete unity" (verse 23). Then, Jesus prays, "'Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my Glory'" (verse 24).

In conclusion, while trying to leave the duplication of prayers in other Gospels out of the equation I found it important and refreshing to study and observe when, where, and what my Savior prayed.

I discovered Jesus loved mountainsides as locations to pray. I noticed that when He prayed the time of day ranged from early morning hours all the way through to all hours of the night. This meant to me that there is no set time to pray. However, whenever Jesus could get alone with Father God, He took the opportunity no matter when it was during the day.

I uncovered what Jesus prayed about. He prayed for children, Himself, His disciples, all Believers, and people at Lazarus' tomb. He thanked Father God for food and for hearing Him.

With the children He might as well have prayed, but it is not recorded He did, just that He touched them.

With Himself, Jesus prayed for glorification, "cup" to be passed, and the surrender of His spirit.

With His Disciples, Jesus prayed for protection, sanctification, identification (who are the twelve), and revelation (of who He was).

With all Believers, Jesus prayed for unity, company in heaven, and forgiveness. With the people at Lazarus' tomb, Jesus prayed for the power of God to be displayed for the benefit of the people standing there.

Now, it is our turn. We have awesome men and women of prayer, often called Prayer Warriors/Leaders, in the Body of Christ. We can pull from these resources and learn from them the discipline of a strong and mighty prayer life. Paul was another great person of the faith that had a strong prayer life. This shows in in his writings to the churches. However, let us study and copy as much as possible The Prayers of Jesus.