Jesus on Prayer


Jesus taught about prayer in three ways: indirectly, directly and through a model prayer. Jesus’ indirect teaching came through the example of His daily living. Jesus’ direct teaching came through His statements to His disciples and followers. And Jesus’ model prayer gave His disciples a foundation on which to build their relationship with God. While these observations on Jesus are not exhaustive, they do provide great insight into the prayer life that we should emulate.

Indirect Teaching – Through His indirect teaching, Jesus demonstrated the importance of prayer.

  • Jesus valued prayer, even above sleep (Matthew 26:40-41; Mark 14:37-38; Luke 9:32; Luke 22:44-46).
  • Jesus prayed at the beginning of His day (Mark 1:35).
  • Jesus often slipped away to pray, even when He was very busy (Matthew 14:22-23; Luke 5:15-16).
  • Jesus prayed over critical decisions, sometimes praying all night (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 6:12-13; Luke 22:39-46; John 17).
  • Jesus prayed with others (Luke 9:28).
  • Jesus prayed for others by name (Luke 22:32; John 17:6-19).
  • Jesus acknowledged God’s will over His own (Matthew 26:38, 42; Mark 14:33).
  • Jesus was confident that God heard His prayers (John 11:41).

Direct Teaching – Jesus used His direct teaching to correct the mistaken teachings of others, even the Pharisees—the religious leaders of the day. Jesus’ direct teachings on prayer are contained in these passages: Matthew 6:5-15; 7:1-11; 9:38; 16:19; 17:20-21; 18:19-20; 21:13; 21:21-22; Mark 11:23-26; Luke 10:2; 11:1-13; 18:1-14; John 14:13-14.

  • Do most of your prayer in secret, just God and you (Matthew 6:5-6).
  • Pray with meaning. God is waiting to listen (Matthew 6:7-8).
  • There is power in group prayer (Matthew 18:19-20).
  • Confession and forgiveness of sin is critical to effective prayer (Mark 11:25-26).
  • Believe you will receive that for which you ask (Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 16:19; Matthew 17:20-21; Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23-24).
  • Pray for strength to resist temptation (Matthew 26:41).
  • Ask all things of the Father in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14).
  • You should ask God to send workers for His harvest (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2).
  • God’s house is to be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13).

Model Prayer – Through Jesus’ model prayer (Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4) we learn of the need in our prayers for:

  • Praise God (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2)
  • Subject to God’s will (Matthew 6:10; Luke 11:2)
  • Supplication for our needs (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3)
  • Forgiveness of debts or obligations with fellow believers and forgiveness of sin (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4)
  • Deliverance from temptation and evil (Matthew 6:13).

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