It seems to strange, doesn’t it, to think that Jesus prayed? If God, why does He have to pray to Himself? Yet at the same time, it seems perfectly reasonable and natural. Is that because we read in Luke at least seven times that Jesus prayed and, thus, we are used to the image of Jesus kneeling and praying? How many times have we seen portraits of Jesus, knee bent in prayer, with a beam of light shining down upon Him from Heaven?
In this blog and in next week’s blog, I will address these questions. But first, I survey the times that Jesus prayed as set forth in the Gospel of Luke.
On at least nine occasions we see Jesus praying (3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 9:34, 11:1, and 23:46 or where Jesus relates parables about prayer, ‘the friend that calls at midnight’ (11:5-8) and ‘the unjust judge’ (18:1-8). Let us examine the instances of Jesus praying and relating the parables.
In 3:21, Jesus is being baptized with other people. While he is praying, the Holy Spirit of God descends upon him as a dove.
In 5:16, after Jesus has healed a leper and has warned the people not to tell anyone about Him, Jesus withdraws to ‘lonely places and prayed’.
Next, after healing a man’s hand on the Sabbath, with the explanation that it is lawful to do work on the Sabbath to save life, Jesus went to a mountainside and prayed all night. 6:12.
While Jesus was praying in private with his disciples, Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do the crowds say I am?” 9:18.
Some eight days after asking this question, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him to a mountain to pray. While Jesus was praying, He is transfigured and Moses and Elijah appear to Him. 9:34.
In 11:1, while Jesus was praying, one of His disciples asked Jesus to teach him how to pray, whereupon, Jesus instructs His disciples about the Lord’s Prayer.
Turning to 11:5-8, Jesus teaches his disciples that if they pray, God will answer.
In 18:1, Jesus instructs His disciples to pray and never give up. He then relates the parable about the unjust judge, who fears not God, nor cares for man.
Finally, in 23:46, although the word prayer is not used, It appears that Jesus, upon the cross, prays, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
What do these nine instances teach us? I will analyze this in my next blog.