This Sunday, in our sermon series on the power and practice of prayer, we ask the question “How does Jesus model prayer.” This blog post is a reflection on that question.
“Be still and know that I am God” is one of my go-to verses in the Bible. When I’m stressed, or really needing to sit in quiet with God, I will often meditate on this verse, matching my breath to the words. It quiets my mind, and helps me center my heart and mind on God. It clears my head so I can just listen for God’s voice.
I wonder if Jesus had his own go-to mantra. Of course, I don’t know. There are plenty of places in the Bible where we read that Jesus went to a quiet place, or to the mountains, or just “away” to pray. I like to think that in those times, he, too, was meditating on some comforting word that helped Him find his Father. But I don’t know.
Just as often in the Bible, Jesus demonstrates other ways of praying. He teaches his disciples formulaic prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. He wallows audibly in anguish in the garden where clearly there are witnesses, taking his deepest fears and desires and laying them at God’s feet. He prays contemplatively and intentionally for his disciples and the world – most likely in some public way, since it was captured in Scripture. He spent time in retreat, one of them 40 days! He fasted.
How does Jesus model prayer? 1 Thessalonians tells us to pray without ceasing. I would say THAT is how Jesus models prayer – by making His life a living prayer. Maybe Jesus prayed in so many different ways in order to show us there is no right or wrong way to pray. Maybe, as long as we’re loving God with all our heart and soul and loving our neighbors as ourselves, Jesus smiles and says, ‘That’s it. That’s how to pray.’