When you pray...

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Jesus often spent time in prayer himself. He taught his disciples how to pray and gave a pattern of prayer that is still followed today. Word Online looks carefully at how frequently he sought time to pray, and why.

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Throughout the Gospels, Jesus prays - often.  Word Online looks carefully at how dependent Jesus was on his Father, God, and how frequently he sought time to pray. 

Not only did Jesus pray very early in the morning after a full day of teaching and healing in Capernaum, Mark 1: 35, (Series 03 Episode 05) but he prayed all night before he chose his twelve Apostles from out of the larger group of disciples (Series 3 Episode 15), before he gave his teaching known as the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5 - 7. Just before leaving the Last Supper, John 17 (Series 12 Episode 18), Jesus seeks the help of his heavenly Father for himself, and he prays for his disciples and for all future believers. He also prayed at a time of great crisis, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Matthew 26 (Series 13 Episode 1), awaiting his betrayal which would lead to his trial and crucifixion..

The Jews practised public prayer and it was counted as honourable and could be a way of gaining status with other people in a very religious society. In this context, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray on more than one occasion - in Matthew 6:5 - 15, in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount (Series 4 Episode 12) and later in his travels in Judea, Luke 11:1 - 13 (Series 8 Episode 10). Jesus explained that prayer was primarily private and based on faith that involved speaking to God in a simple way. The foundation for prayer is a relationship with God - our heavenly Father.

In his study of both of these passages, Martin Charlesworth takes the opportunity to share his testimony of how he has used what is known as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in his daily devotions. He explains that he uses it as a framework for his daily prayer life in this way: 

‘Pray through the phrases slowly; think about each one; expand each one with other supplementary prayers, offers of thanksgiving to God, or whatever's appropriate - confession of sin, application of detail of each point - and go through it step by step.’

Martin’s challenge is to use it daily, and comments that Jesus was unambiguous in his teaching on the subject when asked by his disciples how to pray! 

Jesus realised that his power came from his relationship with the Father, and being obedient to the Father’s will. If Jesus made the effort to find a private place and pray, then how much more do we need to pray. ‘When you pray . . .’ (Matthew 6:5)

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