Jesus Believed In Praying
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) Pray without ceasing.
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The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In the original text this is the Present Middle Imperative of προσεύχομαι proseuchomai. This is a command for our own benefit, rendered as a habit. “Pray without ceasing” or “keep on praying”. When you saw Jesus on this earth He was always praying. His whole life was a prayer. Jesus believed in praying, for when you pray you release the power of God on your life and on the circumstances that surround you.
We believe that our Jesus is God Incarnate, that is God in the flesh. We believe that the Bible teaches that He is not only the Son of God, but that Christ is equal to God His Father. He is the Eternal Word spoken of by John. The Apostle declared:
John 1:1-3 (KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
The Father Himself said of Jesus:
Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.
Jesus Christ is Creator God. He is enthroned God. He was “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Yet Jesus prayed. He prayed so much that one day His disciples came to Him.
Luke 11:1 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
If Jesus Christ – both God and the Son of God – needed to pray, then how much more we His creations need to pray?
To Have Power In God We Must Pray
God has given the world many great Evangelists, but two names stand out in history. During the 19th century the Lord gave us Dwight L Moody, and during the 20th century Billy Graham.
Dwight L. Moody didn’t grow up in a Christian family. His parents were Unitarians, believing that all people upon death – by default – enter Heaven. Moody only completed the fifth grade in his education. When he left home at the age of 17 he became a shoe salesman. When he was 18 years old Moody was led to the Lord Jesus by a Sunday School teacher named Edward Kimball. Because of this influence Moody left the shoe business and began to preach the Gospel of Christ. He along with his worship leader Ira Sankey traveled traveled around the world preaching Christ and seeing souls saved. Moody wrote in his book Prevailing Prayer:
“The two first and essential means of grace are the Word of God and Prayer. By these comes conversion; for we are born again by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever; and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. … These two means of grace must be used in their right proportion. If we read the Word and do not pray, we may become puffed up with knowledge, without the love that buildeth up. If we pray without reading the Word, we shall be ignorant of the mind and will of God, and become mystical and fanatical, and liable to be blown about by every wind of doctrine.”
Billy Graham has preached the Gospel of the Lord Jesus to more than 80 million people. Born to a dairy farmer, and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ when he was 16 years old under the preaching of evangelist Mordecai Hamm. Billy wrote in his book Answers to Life’s Problems:
“I am convinced that prayer makes a difference. Let the Bible answer your question: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). God always answers prayer – not sometimes, but all the time. … one of the greatest privileges of the Child of God is the privilege of coming directly to God in prayer. This is possible because Jesus Christ has reconciled us to God through His death on the Cross. …. We have access to God through Jesus Christ.”
Jesus’ Ministry Began And Ended With Prayer
Twice our Lord Jesus went to the Temple and did something that shocked the Pharisees. Jesus chased the money changers and salesmen out of the Temple. At the beginning of His ministry we read:
John 2:13-16 (KJV) And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,  And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:  And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;  And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Pilgrims coming to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration would often seek out merchants who had animals without spot or blemish to offer as sacrifices in the Temple. Because of this need greedy merchants had set up sales booths in the outer court of the Temple. The Cambridge Bible commentary said: “The needs of the pilgrims—the money which had to be changed—the purchase of cattle for sacrifice —had made the cloisters, precincts, and even the outer court of the Temple a scene of noisy and greedy barter..”. When Jesus saw this He picked up the discarded ropes that had been used to bring the animals into the Temple and made a whip. With this rope whip Jesus chased both man and beast out of the Temple.
Why did Jesus run the vendors out of the Temple?
The last time Jesus entered Jerusalem for the Passover – just prior to His death – He reenacted this scene. We read:
Luke 19:45-46 (KJV) And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;  Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. (see also Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17).
The outer court of the Temple – considered part of the Temple was called the Court of the Gentiles. Jesus often ministered in this area as – unlike the other parts of the Temple – both Jew and Gentile could come into this place. The vendors and sellers had taken over the outer court with the blessing of the Pharisees. When Jesus chased them out of the area He cried out:
Matthew 21:13 KJV … IT IS WRITTEN My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Jesus was not giving a personal opinion as He chased these vendors out. He was quoting God’s Scripture. He quoted from God’s Holy Word:
Isaiah 56:7 (KJV) Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
Jeremiah 7:11 (KJV) Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.
God’s Temple was to be a place where ALL people – regardless of race or gender – came together to approach the Throne of God’s Grace. The Pulpit Commentary states:
“This visit of the Lord to the temple, in which he spoke and acted as King Messiah, was a fulfillment of:
Malachi 3:1-2 (KJV) Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.  But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap”
Prayer Must Be A Priority For Every Church
When Jesus the Messiah came into the Temple He purged it, and restored prayer to its rightful place. There are several spiritual truths we can see in Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple.
- When Prayer Is Not A Priority And Other Things Become More Important Jesus Will Purge The Church Or Even Destroy It Entirely. At the beginning of His Ministry Jesus purged the Temple and reminded the Pharisees to maintain a proper priority toward God (John 2:13ff). Just a few years later – most believe it to be 3.5 years – Jesus once more has to purge the Temple (Luke 19:45ff; Matthew 21:13).
Our God is the God of second chances. But if His warnings are not heeded, God will judge!
Right after Jesus purges the Temple for the last time we read:
Matthew 24:1-2 (KJV) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.  And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (see also Mark 13:1-2)
The disciples went to the Temple and marveled at its beauty. As they were moved by the stately walls Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed. It was, just 35 years after Jesus foretold it. The historian Josephus wrote of the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD:
“Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, Titus Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple… “It was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe Jerusalem had ever been inhabited.” (The Wars of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter 1.1).
By 135 AD nearly 600,000 Jews had been killed and over 1000 towns and villages were destroyed. Scrolls were burned, and the practice of Judaism was outlawed throughout the Roman Empire. In our day Churches are closing their doors because prayer is not a priority. Beloved, we must give prayer the same priority that Jesus gives prayer.
Right after Jesus chased the vendors out of the Temple (Matthew 21:13) what do we read?
Matthew 21:14-15 (KJV) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.  And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Three things happen when prayer becomes a priority.
- Those with needs come to Jesus “and He heals them”.
- People begin to praise God … even the children. Children stop leaving the Church and start worshiping the Lord. They cried out “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
- Self righteousness is exposed and eradicated. “The Chief priests and Scribes were sore displeased”
Greg Ezell writes:
“When you read the biographies of Jesus’ life, the Gospels, you learn one of his great secrets. Jesus modeled prayer. If he prayed, we need to pray. If he needed time alone with God, we need time alone with God. We need to emulate what he did. Obviously and practically, Jesus believed that prayer works.”
If our Church believed that prayer works just as Jesus believes prayer works then our prayer meetings would be standing room only.
Prayer is the Child of God calling on the Precious Father to help. Our Father will help. He will bless us. But we must call on His Name believing.
Prayer Is To Ask Our Father For Blessing
Matthew 7:7-11 KJV Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
The Bible teaches us that every genuine Christian is a priest before God. We are to “come boldly to the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace, in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). The stepbrother of our Lord said:
James 4:2-3 (KJV) Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Jesus often prayed, but never asked amiss. He sought to glorify the Father in His asking. Jesus stayed in constant contact with His Father. The more we pray, the less influence Satan will have over our lives. Jesus said “if you, being evil (fallen creatures) know how to give good gifts to your children”, then shouldn’t the Lord Who is good and perfect and holy know how to give good things to His Children? That’s a rhetorical question: the Lord does know how to give us good things. The Bible promises:
James 1:17 KJV Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
God doesn’t give bad gifts. When we have needs, we should go to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to supply them. Billy Graham wrote in his book The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham:
“Prayer is powerful, but if our prayers are aimless, meaningless, and mingled with doubt, they will be of little hope to us. Prayer is more than a wish; it is the voice of faith directed to God.”
Prayer is not a wish, but FAITH VOICED. Prayer believes in the God Who is, and Who is a rewarder of those Who diligently seek Him.
Rick Ezell writes: “The evil one chides us into believing: “Prayer doesn’t work, so why pray at all.” We link, all too frequently, prayer requests and prayer answered and miss the main business of prayer and that is conversation, dialog, the building and maintaining of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. If we reduce prayer to nothing more that asking for things, we are no different than the spoiled child that comes to their parent only to make demands.”
When we pray, we pray believing not that we will get everything we ask for, but believing that the Lord Who loves us will only give us what is in our best interest. He would not give us a rock if we ask for a loaf of bread, nor a snake if we ask for a fish. God loves us, and will only give us that which is for our good. Our Lord Jesus prayed knowing this, and was never afraid to ask – nor was He bitterly disappointed when the Father said “no”.
Right after Jesus left the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James, and John, a man came to Jesus with his son. The boy was possessed of a demon, so much so that he “fell on the ground, and wallowed while foaming (at the mouth) (Mark 9:20). The man said, “I brought my son to Your disciples but they couldn’t do anything. Will You help, Lord?” Jesus asked the man, “If you can believe, for all things are possible for those who believe”. The man gave the most honest answer I’ve ever heard. He said, “I believe. Will You help my unbelief?” Our Lord cast the demon out, and the boy was made whole. The disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Master, Why couldn’t we do this?” Jesus said:
Mark 9:29 KJV … This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
How serious are you in your prayers? Jesus not only prayed but He fasted as well. Fasting is a deliberate act of the will where we put aside other things in order to focus on prayer. There are many different types of fasts. You may stop eating food, or may stop taking liquids. You may do this for a predetermined amount of time. You do not fast to lose weight, but to focus on dedicated prayer to the Lord. The person who fasts puts the Lord first, and this world second. Fasting means that I give up my rights in order to grow closer to my Lord.
Mark 11:24-26 KJV Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Fasting is a natural part of dedicated prayer. Forgiveness is a absolutely necessary part of dedicated prayer. As Jesus hung on the Cross dying for our sins, naked, bleeding, and bruised, our Lord prayed:
Luke 23:34 (KJV) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
We who believe must forgive, or else God will not hear our prayers. There are local Churches – good local Churches – that are dying today because its members are carrying around with them festered wounds on unforgiving souls. Jesus said “if you don’t forgive, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your trespasses”. Know this, the Bible tells us that:
John 9:31 KJV Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
You both worship and do the will of God when you do not bear a grudge, but forgive one another. Let us abide in Christ and do that which He has commanded we do. He has promised:
John 15:7-8 KJV If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
We pray in the Will of God when we view life through the filter of the Word of God. God wants us to bear much fruit as we work for Him in this life. This will only happen when our prayers are within His Will – and His Word tells us what His Will is. God’s Will is that His Kingdom increase on this earth. TheKingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). As we give ourselves over to His Kingdom He will grow our Church by bringing more souls in. On the Day of Pentecost 120 were praying in an upper room, seeking God’s face. By the end of the day over 3000 came into the Church by faith. This is the power of dedicated, Christlike prayer.
Billy Graham “Prayer is more than a plea, it is a place where we must spend time if we are to learn its power.”
The Lord Jesus Christ came from Heaven to this earth with one thought in mind, to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). What Jesus went through on the Cross was so terrible that The Bible tells us that as He prayed in Gethsemane:
Luke 22:42-43 KJV … Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
God had to send an angel from Heaven to strengthen our Lord. As Jesus prayed and considered the coming horror of the Cross:
Luke 22:44 KJV … being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
His sweat dropped like blood to the ground. Jesus put everything He had into our salvation. He Who is perfectly sinless and innocent died a criminal’s death in our place.
This is why God puts such a premium on building His Kingdom and leading others to Christ. Jesus went to hell’s kitchen for us. He died for all, so that whosoever will believe in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Because of this God WILL answer the prayer that builds His Kingdom and leads others to Christ. He will answer the prayer that has our Lord Jesus at the center of glory. We are to pray believing not to satisfy our lusts, but to lead many to glory through faith in Christ.
May God touch your hearts with His Word!