This week, Pastor Chris continued in our new sermon series seeking to answer how Jesus prayed in hopes that we would learn to pray like him. During our First Love fast, we have chosen to lay aside something we love for something we love even more: Jesus. Fasting often accelerates our prayer life because it welcomes weakness into our lives. As we fast and come to Jesus in our weakness, we want to grow in prayer and intimacy with the Lord as He strengthens us in Him.
How Did Jesus Pray?
- He prayed the Word
Psalm 22:1 (ESV)
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
- He prayed Long Prayers
Luke 6:12 (ESV)
12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
- He prayed Warfare Prayers – These are proactive prayers where you discern something from God and pray in order to dismantle strongholds.
John 12:27–28 (ESV)
27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
- He prayed Thankful Prayers – Thankfulness awakens us.
Matthew 11:25–26 (ESV)
25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
How Can We Pray Like Jesus?
- Pray Consistently
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (ESV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
- Pray in Faith
Matthew 21:22 (ESV)
22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
- Pray Succinctly
Matthew 6:6–7 (ESV)
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Mark 12:38–40 (ESV)
38 And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
- Pray in God’s Will
1 John 5:14–15 (ESV)
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
- Pray Humbly
Luke 18:9–14 (ESV)
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
- Pray Fervently
Luke 18:1 (ESV)
1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
- Pray and Fast.
Matthew 6:16 (ESV)
16 “And when you fast
Matthew 4:1–2 (ESV)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
“Jesus takes it for granted that His disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian life. Such customs have only one purpose — to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done.” Bonhoeffer
- Fasting prepares you for the works God has ordained for you to do.
Galatians 5:17 (ESV)
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Galatians 5:16 (ESV)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Revelation 2:2–7 (ESV)
2 “ ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Five Rewards of Fasting and Prayer:
1. Fasting tenderizes our hearts
2. Fasting changes our desires
3. Fasting increases our understanding
4. Fasting makes our body healthier
5. Fasting strengthens our sense of identity
- Worship as Prayer
Mark 14:26 (ESV)
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Luke 23:46 (ESV)
46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
- Have you ever needed to change your posture in prayer or worship in order for your heart to soften? Share you experience with the group.
- Pastor Chris used an illustration with 3 mason jars to show 3 types of people: the black mason jar represents someone who does not know or live for Jesus, the clear jar is one who knows Jesus & regularly repents to find refreshment, and the rocky jar is full of strongholds that need to be repented of and released. Which of the jars are you?
- Pastor Chris said, “when we fill our lives with the world, there’s no more room for Jesus.” Has this ever been true in your life? Is there any worldliness in your life that you need to remove so that there is room for Jesus?
- How would you describe your current prayer life? Answer this question honestly this week.
- Are you interested in starting to pray the Word of God? Practice praying Psalm 91 this week.
- Are you participating in the First Love fast? If not, it’s not too late! Choose something to lay aside until January 23rd.