[ Jesus Prays in Gethsemane ] Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.”[ Jesus Preaches in Galilee ] And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized. And while He prayed the heaven was opened,[ Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ ] Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”[ The Lord’s Prayer ] Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”
The Bible does not give us much detail into Jesus’ daily prayer life, however, they do mention enough to give a picture of Jesus’ communion with the Lord. Luke is the most descriptive, mentioning Jesus’s prayers more than any other gospel. Last week, I mentioned Matthew 14:23 as a hint at Jesus’s prayer habits. This scripture is similar to Mark 1:35, which does not say He prayed in this way every morning. In fact, the disciples went to look for Him, suggesting Jesus did not run off to pray regularly.
Instead, we see Him finding quiet when life was especially hectic. Jesus was teaching in Galilee, and had been healing and teaching in the evening and again in the day after in this section of Mark. He sought secluded prayer after teaching and feeding the 5,000, and all gospels give detail of the garden of Gethsemane prayer. It seems Jesus did not pray at a certain time, but prayed all the time. His secluded prayers were petitions for strength in particularly difficult times.
In the New Testament, the apostles speak of praying continuously. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 instructs believers to “pray without ceasing.” I imagine this better reflects Jesus’s prayer habits. While it is a good habit to pray and read first thing in the morning or remind yourself by certain visual cues, Christs shows us God’s desire for constant communication with Him.
In my marriage, my husband and I are regularly texting and sharing information when we do not see each other. Many couples find constant communication as one of the biggest factors in improving their marriage. As mentioned last week, we have been struggling with the demands of third-shift, which limits our time to talk with one another. In the same way, God wants to speak with us. He wants us to tell Him everything to grow closer to Him as He draws nearer to us.
Praying In The Garden
The most recorded prayer of Jesus was His plea before His crucifixion. I am always amazed by how this scripture shows both the hurting humanity of Christ and the divinity of God in Jesus. The deepest hurt and the most intense prayer came in the separation from God He would experience. Jesus would be in immense pain and completely alone. As we think on the crucifixion of Christ, we can remind ourselves of the closeness God wants to experience with us. A habit can bring us closer to God, but the goal is not to pray every morning at the same time. The goal is to pray without ceasing, so we might find closeness with God.
His plan to restore the world draws nearer. We cannot allow this life to keep us from eternal life spent with God. If our closeness with God is determined by our prayer life, it’s more important now than ever. And it can bring the hope and peace we are longing for in the moments we allow hardships to keep us from Christ.