Feb22WedFebruary 22, 2017
2017 is our year to focus on prayer. Therefore, it is my goal to continue to encourage and equip the believers at First Mennonite Church to grow in prayer corporately and individually. Yet perhaps more significantly, this means that I must also be pursuing the Lord in prayer. I have heard many stories of pastors who get so busy ‘doing ministry’ that they completely starve their prayer life and run on adrenaline for years without seeking the Holy Spirit. Over time, this cultivates a prayer-less culture in the life of the church, in part, because prayer is a habit which is 'caught' more than it is taught.
1 John 2:6 says, “Whoever says they live in God, should live as Jesus did.” This certainly ought to apply to prayer habits. As our current series on prayer concludes this week and we begin to focus on the culture of prayer found within the book of Acts, I’d like to revisit how and when Jesus modeled prayer for you and me.
Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus would often withdraw to desolate places to pray. Sometimes he prayed very early in the morning by himself (Mark 1:35). Other times, he would pray in the late afternoon after a long day of work (Matthew 14:23). Once, we find him praying all night before a big decision (Luke 6:12). In Galilee, his quiet place was on a mountain (Mark 6:46). In Jerusalem, the garden of Gethsemane was one of his favorite locations (John 18:1-2). Sometimes he prayed kneeling down (Luke 22:41) and other times we prayed with his eye looking to the heavens (John 17:1). Over time, he began to pray with his disciples (Luke 9:28-29) even though his disciples would often fall asleep (Luke 22:25-26). Jesus’ prayers were emotional (Hebrews 5:7) and he encouraged the faith in Jerusalem to turn the temple into a house of prayer for the nations (Mark 11:17).
Now, we might be tempted to say, “I could never do that! I’m not Jesus.” However, if there was ever a person who did not need to pray, it was him! He set an example for us which modeled a life of absolute dependence upon the Father through prayer. We would be wise to follow His lead.
I’ve found great joy in offering the day to the Lord in the morning and praying for specific needs (especially within our church family) during an extended time in the afternoon. Sometimes I sit. Sometimes I kneel. Sometimes I walk around. As you consider the life modeled for you by our Lord, and process the lessons throughout our ‘Teach Us To Pray’ series, I encourage you to join the culture of prayer within FMC! If you don’t have any prayer habits, simply consider which habit of Jesus that you find most accessible and begin there. He modeled it for us. Let us live into it for Him!