As Christians, we are followers of Jesus. We are called to mature in our faith, which means we should become more Christlike. We need to emulate our Lord and Savior. One of the important themes in the Gospel of Luke is prayer. Prayer is mentioned twenty-one times in Luke. More significant, is that prayer occurs at key times and places.
Luke is the only Gospel writer that records that Jesus prayed when He was baptized. “When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NKJV)
For Jesus, prayer was frequently a time of revelation and direction from God. “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NKJV) We can see a pattern of the importance prayer by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.
Towards the end of Jesus ministry on earth, Jesus and the disciples have just finished the Last Supper and are headed to the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke records, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:41-42 NKJV)
The cup Jesus is talking about is ordeal He is about to go through to pay for the sins of the world. Jesus knew He was going to be humiliated, beaten, scourged, and then crucified. Anyone of those alone is bad enough but having to endure all is unthinkable. Jesus shows us here that He is fully human yet fully divine. Jesus is asking our Heavenly Father for strength to follow His will and for the strength to accomplish that.
When we go through difficult times, face terrible health news, the loss of a loved one, or any matter of temptation we can find comfort in the fact that Jesus truly understands what we are going through. Jesus like any person did not want to go through a difficult situation. Here Jesus teaches us very important lesson on what we should do when we are facing difficulties. We need to follow Jesus’ example and ask the Father to strengthen our will with His will. God’s will is always stronger than our will.
The key to any relationship is communication. We need to stay in communication with our Heavenly Father through prayer. Spiritual growth is impossible without continuous prayer. We need to draw near to our Heavenly Father daily no matter how busy and stressful our lives are.
Jesus throughout His ministry taught us to pray regularly, to pray privately, to pray sincerely, and to pray specifically. Spending time in prayer and learning to listen to God needs to be an important part of all of our lives.
Pastor Timothy Hammond
Oak Street Baptist Church