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Friday, September 06, 2013

Why did Jesus pray?

Mark 1:32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons. 33 All the city was gathered together at the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn’t allow the demons to speak, because they knew him.
35 Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there.
(World English Bible, public domain)

Why did Jesus pray?

He was God, but he still prayed. (This isn't the only place in the Gospels that mentions that -- see Mark 6:46, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:18, and Luke 22:41, and perhaps other locations.)

1) He may have prayed to set an example for us. Possibly He didn't need to pray at all, but knew that we would, so He did.

2) He may have prayed to the Father and the Holy Spirit to help Him hold out against temptation. Hebrews 4:15:
For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin.

Perhaps Jesus prayed, for example, that He wouldn't be tempted to pride, or to strike the Pharisees dead, or to become inappropriately involved with one of His female followers.

3) It seems that He prayed for strength and endurance. Note that in the passage quoted above, He had recently expended a lot of energy in interacting with people (and demons).

4) In the Garden, He prayed that His will might be aligned with the Father's.

5) In John 17, He prayed for us, His followers. Most of the prayers in the New Testament are of that type -- praying for other believers.

6) On some occasions, He prayed a prayer of thanksgiving, for food, for one thing, and this was done even after the resurrection. See Luke 24:30.

There are probably other reasons why Christ prayed. Feel free to mention them in a comment.

I don't pray enough. You probably don't, either. But Christ set an example for us, and most likely even Christ needed to pray, for strength for His tasks, to reject temptation, in gratitude, and certainly for us, His followers.

Pray! Thanks for reading.


atlibertytosay said...

I do not pray enough and thanks for this reminder and view of the "best example we have of prayer"

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, atlibertytosay. I'm working on it.