I love to highlight and make notes in my Bible. One of the things I find myself studying (and highlighting) are the prayers in the Bible. One of my all-time favorite prayers is found in John 17. I love the fact that Jesus prayed first for himself, then for His friends and lastly for us and often think how cool it would be if we could pray like Jesus. But what does it mean to pray like Jesus?
Can you imagine it?
The King of the Universe had time to say a prayer for you and me at the most pivotal time of his life. I don't know about you, but most times when I'm going through a difficult situation it's hard to pray. It's hard to pray for me or anyone else for that matter.
But Jesus somehow found the strength to not only pray for His friends but also to pray for people who hadn't even been born yet.
As believers, one of the things we desire most is the ability to pray and pray well. Maybe your challenge is to learn to pray like Jesus did.
Merriam-Webster defines prayer as:
1) An address (as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought
2) An earnest request or wish.
Sounds a little complicated doesn’t it? Like, what exactly is a petition? Do I need to have a bunch of people to sign something before I can get God to listen to me? And why are we petitioning God? Is that all we’re supposed to do? Ask God for things?
Let’s put it this way instead: prayer is having a conversation with God. The way I do it will be a whole lot different than the way that you do it.
Ultimately the way we pray stems from our relationship with God.
My husband once told me that he used to have a problem with the way I talked to God because I wasn’t “formal enough”.
I’ve often thought the same but then I remember that God’s my friend, my Father, my Savior.
There are so many different aspects to our relationship that the tone of our conversations will differ–much like they do with anyone that I speak regularly with.
I look at how Jesus prayed and I realized that while He was respectful, He spoke from His heart and let God know exactly what He was thinking and feeling. Since our aim is to pray like Jesus shouldn't our prayers mimic His?
As we examining Jesus’ Prayer in John 17, we learn three things we can do to make our prayers more Christ-like:
1. Speak to God about what’s happening in your life and how you feel about it (John 17:1-5). God knows everything that happens to you, He knows how you’re feeling.
But He still wants to hear from you. He wants you to know there is nothing too petty or too grand to talk to him about. Tell Him your fears, dreams and deepest desires. And don't be afraid to ask Him to give you the desire of His heart.
2. Pray for those closest to you (John 17:6-8). This includes your family, friends and those to whom you are hoping to be a witness. This may even include someone you're mentoring.
3. Pray for those who belong to the body of Christ (John 17:20-25). The enemy is attacking believers all over the world because he knows that his time here on earth is short and he wants to deceive as many people as he can.
As you pray for other believers, they may be praying for you and so we will build up instead of tear down the body of Christ.
The Bible has a lot to say about prayer but here are fourteen of my favorite verses. (Yes, I know, I have a lot of favorites. )
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 ESV
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 NIV
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 ESV
The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29 ESV
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! Psalm 141:2 ESV
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37 ESV
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 ESV
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.1 John 5:14 NKJV
The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18 NLT
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NKJV
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22 NIV
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. “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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him". Matthew 6:5-8 ESV
It's important for each of us to figure out the best way to talk with our Heavenly Father. While you’re figuring out your prayer style and what talking to God means to you, here are three great prayers to study:
The prayer of Abraham's servant: Genesis 24:12-14
Hannah’s prayer: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Hezekiah’s prayer: 2 Kings 19:15-19
My prayer for you is that as you learn how to pray like Jesus, you will draw closer to God.
You may also like: