“I don’t want to be afraid anymore.”
“Life will bring you down, but you can choose to rise again.”
Have you heard this quote before? No, this is not a statement from the Bible. It is from the blockbuster Karate Kid. A young guy moves to China and is bullied there. When he meets an old kung fu master, this man teaches him all the tricks of the martial art. He gives him confidence. By watching the master, by practicing a lot himself, he gets better and better. The most important lesson he learns: focus & always keep going!
‘Master’ Jesus about prayer;
If you want to learn something well, you look to the master. The one who knows what he/she is talking about and can teach you the tricks of the trade. Whether it’s about painting, cooking or kung fu. You learn by watching, copying, reading and practicing a lot yourself. It is the same with prayer. And if you want to learn something about prayer, you have to look at ‘the master’. And that’s Jesus. He had a “direct line” with God. Prayer was woven into his life here on earth. You can learn so much from Jesus about prayer. Jesus often gives an insight into his own prayer life. He gives you tips, challenges you and helps you if you can’t find the words yourself. Let’s see together what you can learn from the ‘master of prayer’.
When did Jesus pray?
Any idea how often Jesus prays in the Bible? 25 times! So we have 25 examples in the Bible of how Jesus deals with prayer. We should be able to learn something from that. We won’t go through them all, but here are a few highlights.
Jesus prays when he…
You regularly read that Jesus needs rest and then looks for a quiet place to pray alone like here in Mark 1.
Jesus learns that his cousin and friend John the Baptist has been beheaded. In Matthew 14 he seeks solitude to process his grief, with God.
The Bible describes a moment in Luke 10 when Jesus experiences tremendous joy and he immediately begins to pray to thank God.
…needs to make an important decision
When Jesus has to make choices, he takes the time to pray. He wants his choice to be God’s choice. When he has to choose in Luke 6 which men will become his disciples, his followers, he prays all night for wisdom so that he will choose the right men.
…has done a miracle
If we need a miracle in our life, we pray for it. And what if the miracle happened? It is exactly then that you read several times in the Bible that Jesus is going to pray. Just when the miracle has already happened as with the Miraculous Feeding.
What stands out? Our ‘master of prayer’ is vulnerable, an emotional person. Jesus shares his emotions with God. The good, the bad and the ugly. He involves God in his daily life.
Then how do I pray?
If you are reading this article, you probably have a desire to pray yourself. Maybe you find it difficult to know how to pray? Jesus can certainly help you.
Jesus always prays to God. He has a personal relationship with God. He calls him Father and encourages you to do the same. Jesus really takes the time to pray and provides a setting in which to keep his focus. Read here where Jesus came to rest and think about what is a good place for you to pray.
Jesus also often says, “Thank you!”. In his prayers he thanks God for all that God gives. He also wants to pass this on to us in Philippians 4:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
And like a true ‘master’ he also challenges you. To pray bigger and bolder. Look what he says in Matthew 17:
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Jesus does not look for perfection
There is one big difference between Jesus and other masters. Where kung fu masters or in any skill, always strive for perfection – Jesus does not. His goal is not that we can pray perfectly. On the contrary. He himself warns against “perfect prayers.” Nor do we pray for the stage. Not to make others happy or to show how good of a person we are. Of course it is nice if we can help others with prayer and sharing your experiences can really help someone else to grow. But prayer is always about the connection between you and God. And there is no room for masks, nice words or bravado. God sees our hearts.
Read here what Jesus says about hypocritical prayer
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6
The famous prayer ‘ The Lord’s prayer’
Jesus warns us against meaningless and hypocritical prayers. But what should you say? Do you find it difficult to come up with the right words? Then right after this part of the Bible Jesus comes with a beautiful prayer that you can always pray. The Lord’s Prayer is the most famous prayer in the Bible. So if you can’t find the words to pray, read this prayer and think about what you can learn from Jesus about prayer.
1. Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
2. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
3. Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
This prayer is “masterly.” It shows exactly what Jesus thinks is important in prayer:
- Focus on God and give Him the credits that belong to Him
- Share what you need but also think about what you can / should give others
- Recognize that we need God. To protect us and be able to forgive
Whether you pray an existing prayer (did you know that there are 650 prayers in the Bible!) or whether you choose your own words – try to incorporate these elements.
Jesus’ ABCD of prayer
All the examples, scriptures and tips may make you a little dizzy. So here’s a very brief summary of what you can learn from Jesus about prayer.
A – Attention
B – Thanking
C – Checking
D – Sharing
Keep your attention and focus on God.
Thank God in every situation of your life.
Check in regularly and check with God if you are on the right path.
Share what’s on your mind.
And when life brings you down, you can choose to get up. By starting to pray again. Get on. Everyday is a new beginning!