- Common Material shared
- Uniquely Matthew
- Uniquely Mark
- Uniquely Luke
- Uniquely John
Interesting, why does Luke say “as was his custom”? Clearly this was a regular practice of Jesus. Below I have clipped the verses from the gospels which talk of Jesus going to a specific place to pray, with the exception of the Gethsemane verses because you have those in the coloured sections above. I have not included verses where Jesus is talking or teaching about prayer. I have selected the verses which indicate Jesus took the time to pray in a specific place in a regular way.
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.Mark 1:35
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and He prayed to God all night.Luke 6:12
One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only His disciples were with Him, and He asked them, “Who do people say I am?”Luke 9:18
About eight days later Jesus took Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray.Luke 9:28
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As He finished, one of His disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may Your name be kept holy. May Your Kingdom come soon.Luke 11:1-2
One day Jesus told His disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.Luke 18:1
Did you notice the dominance of Luke references in this collection? This is something that Luke takes the time to point out to us. I think it is clear to you now that Jesus’ habit was to pray. He prayed in the early morning, He prayed in the daytime, He prayed all night. He prayed up on mountain tops, He separated Himself from the crowds and talked to Father God. It is very evident in Luke that He did this on a regular basis. This was Jesus habit. Do you have a habit? I am sure you have many of them. We human beings are habitual creatures. I think it is fun to notice people when they come to Deeper Bible class, they do things habitually. Even though it may only be the second time they come, they will sit in the same seat they sat in last week. We do the same thing at church, don’t we? Our actions become habitual. Take time to think about the things you do habitually. This is good to do; it may reveal some things to you. Make a list of them then weigh up your life in the light of your habits. How did you fare? What did the results of your analysis tell you?
Next question: does spiritual exercise figure highly in your habits? Did prayer feature? Can you count prayer as an habitual practice in your life? Take time to reflect on your prayer life. How much time do you spend in prayer on a daily basis? Is it just a case of saying grace before you eat or perhaps praying for a car park when you need one? Or is your prayer life more consistent than that? Measuring your prayer life (the title of a sermon I preached at JPCC some months ago – although not with this focus) will reveal some things to you about your spiritual disciplines or lack of them.
I quoted Bob Gass in Gems 680. I repeat it here for you.
Do you pray even five minutes a day? That’s less than 0.5% of your waking hours! During Prohibition, Congress ruled that anything containing less than half a percent alcohol was non-intoxicating.
- You can’t feel the effect.
- It doesn’t change your perception.
- It doesn’t change your walk or talk.
How long should I pray? Until you feel the effect.
- Until it changes your perception.
- Until it changes the way you walk and talk.
I regularly talk to the Deeper Biblers about increasing their capacity. For meditating on the Word of God, for Bible Study, for time spent having your Time Alone with God, for Prayer. In short for all of the spiritual disciplines.
I will never forget when we returned from Indonesia to New Zealand in 1993 we were taken on to the pastoral team at our church and among other things I was given the specific role of Missions Pastor. One of the “inspirational ideas” I believe I was given from the Lord was the challenge for our church to pray through the 10/40 window for a whole month, because the Christian world was being challenged to do that. So I floated the idea to our church of about 300 to commit to praying through the month twenty-four – seven. 24 hours / day; seven days a week for the whole month. At first most were shocked at the idea, especially when I suggested that we rouse ourselves and go and pray at church, not in the comfort of our own homes or worse yet, our own beds. I divided the days into half hour time slots through the day and through the night. Many people told me they didn’t think they could pray for a half an hour non stop. I spent time developing materials that people could use for prayer fuel. Then in a morning service before the Praying through the 10/40 Window began, I went to the month’s timetable laid out on the wall and filled in my name for the two hours between 2.00 and 4.00 am every second day. People were inspired to commit and pray.
People caught the significance and the excitement and the practice grew through the month. It was so exciting to see people coming down to church for their allotted time but coming earlier to join with the people praying before them and staying later to join with those who came later. All said it was like God was in the midst of it all and their capacity to prayer increased significantly.
I have been talking about prayer, but the same applies to the time you spend in your Quiet Time (time alone with God) or in Bible Study. I don’t have any trouble spending time in these spiritual exercises because I have established the patterns in my life for a long time now. I rise early to spend the time with God. There was a period of time when I felt God told me not to use the alarm to wake me up but rather to trust Him to wake me. That’s all very well. The first few mornings I even got to sleep in longer. But that soon changed as the Lord began waking me earlier. Trust Him to wake you when you need to be woken and soon you will find yourself getting out of bed in the wee small hours of the morning after being woken by the Holy Spirit. I can tell you those are some of the most precious times of my life. (Just don’t let the devil push you into believing you have to do it every night. If the devil can’t prevent you he will push you.)
But let me add perspective to help you start to implement this practice in your life. It has not always been like this for me. Many of you know that I became a Christian on Sunday August 19th 1973 at 10.30 pm. I am now 40 years old in the Lord. I didn’t start out practicing what I am preaching at the beginning. I had to grow into the spiritual habits. I had to learn to increase my capacity for the spiritual disciplines. When we were first told about the need to get up early and have some time alone with God I thought that was a good idea and so Tania and I decided we would do that. But for the first week the alarm would go off and I would reach over and put it on snooze and just lie there. We needed help. Help we got in the form of Faith McMurtrie who start to call us every morning at 6.00 am to make sure we were up and awake and ready to have a QT (Quiet Time with God). But then I would get cunning and just stay in bed and suggest Tania get up and answer the phone and tell Faith we were awake and ready. Faith was smarter than that and would ask to talk to both of us. (This was in the era before bedside phones and cell phones.)
At this early time in my life I had trouble establishing the spiritual disciplines because I would go to sleep praying or reading the Bible. I can tell you falling asleep while reading the Bible hurt. I had bought a large NASB and when I dozed off it would fall on my face and wake me up. That is a long time ago. I don’t suffer from those set backs anymore. Have you not realised when you keep falling asleep each time you try to read the Bible or pray – that satan is opposed to you reading the Bible or praying? Resist him and he will flee from you. But it takes commitment and perseverance and a sore nose. It also takes strategies to be put in place to ensure you succeed. If you find yourself falling asleep while praying, GET OUT OF BED and pray by speaking out loud, don’t just pray in your head. If you having trouble with falling asleep while praying, don’t beat yourself up over it. Just imagine that Jesus is telling you, “It’s alright you can sleep, you need it. I’ve got this one covered.”
In the next Gem, 1215, I will address the question of “what place? In the clause “When He arrived at the place” what place is being referred to here?
Is Luke’s use of the word “place” as a reference to Gethsemane which he has left out of the account or is it a reference to something else?
Satan sends worry. If we took it and prayed then he would send less worry.Mark Conner
Don’t panic, pray. Don’t worry, worship.Rick Warren
If you’re worrying, you’re praying to the wrong God.Ian Vail
God understands our prayers even when we can’t find the words to say them.Anon
God can pick the sense out of a confused prayer.Anon
The devil is a firm believer in prayer; not because he practices it but because he suffers from it.Ian Vail