less of a list and more time with Dad
This challenge to pray first in 2020 isn’t something new. In fact, Jesus Himself modeled it.
Think about this from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life:
Before Jesus began His public ministry, He prayed first. (Matthew 4 and Luke 4)
Before Jesus chose His 12 disciples, He prayed first. (Luke 6:12-13)
Jesus’ response to success was to pray first. (Luke 5:15-16)
Before Jesus entered the worst week of His life, He prayed first. (Matthew 26:36 NLT)
When Jesus was being betrayed by the very people He made, He prayed first. (Luke 23:34) While Jesus was in the worst pain of His life, He prayed first. (Matthew 27:46)
Personally, I’ve wondered why Jesus would spend so much time in prayer.
I, mean….He was GOD in the form of a man. However, Scripture emphasizes Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. In theological terms this is called the hypostatic union - and because of this, He wasn’t only praying because He needed to, but because He was setting an example for us. The life and purpose of Jesus wasn’t just to die on the cross and rise from the dead to defeat Satan, sin, and death - His life was also an example for us. If Jesus prayed first, how much more should we pray first? If Jesus would take time to get away and be alone with His Father, how much more should we take time to get alone with our Heavenly Father?
From Jesus’ life, we see a major part of His prayer life was simply being with His Dad. After being a Christian for over 20 years, I’m finally starting to understand this. I felt for the first 10-15 years of spending time in prayer, it was me coming before God with a list and checking it twice. It was like, Hey Dad, good to see you - BTW, I need… I was more concerned with what Dad could do for me instead of being in relationship with Him. Now that I have sons, I understand the danger and downer of this way of prayer. My favorite moments are when my boys just want to be with me. No asking for candy, no trying to talk me into going to Wal-Mart. Just sitting on the couch with Dad, snuggling, and having the assurance Dad is for me, loves me, protects me, provides for me, and will fight for me. I find my prayer times less focused on asking for things on my list and focused on spending time with Dad - being reassured of my identity as a child of God… being reminded of His faithfulness in the past… being reminded He will provide every need, and being reassured He knows the future and hasn’t forgotten me.
Let’s be (and pray more) like Jesus... Less of a list and more time with Dad.