The prayer life of Jesus has been studied so much, and with good reason. Jesus is the model of the true Christian. Everything He did and said is an example for us today. That includes the way He communicated with God.
In talking about prayer, many questions arise… questions that sometimes often go unanswered. Questions like: what’s the right way to pray? Does God answer every prayer? What happens when I pray and don’t get answers? How long should I pray to get results?
Jesus’ prayer life was the most effective one anyone has ever had, and that tells us He did everything right. His results in prayer, and the way the Father responded to him, are a clear indication of what God expects from us in prayer.
It also shows clearly the answers to some of these questions.
Here’s what the prayer life of Jesus teaches us about God.
1. God is no respector of persons
Most people feel that Jesus got all His prayers answered because it couldn’t have happened any other way.
He was the Son of God, right? Of course He would get answers to His prayers, we think. We often forget that Jesus came to make us children of God too.
Jesus had no more right to expect answers to His prayers than you do.
In Hebrews 5:7, we are told this in the Scripture:
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Hebrews 5:7, NIV
He was heard because of His deep reverence for the Father. That means He recognized who He was dealing with every time He prayed.
Many Christians don’t know the God they’re dealing with. Without knowing God, you will miss His leading for your life. Even if He gift-wrapped the answer to your prayers and put them on the porch for you with a bell ringing beside it, you’d probably miss it.
A deep reverence for God means you don’t take His instructions lightly. You’re at His command to do what He’s asked you to do. So after you’ve prayed, you can expect results.
Reverence for God also means you understand the rules that apply to prayer and do not go against them. There are different ways to pray for different things, and you’d do well for yourself not to mix them up.
2. God responds only to faith
Again, we see from the prayer life of Jesus this astounding truth: God responds only to faith.
Jesus never gave in to fear. We see how He always, always responded in faith, no matter what the situation was. From the story of Lazarus, who was sick and later died, to the story of Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, we see Jesus only responding in faith and encouraging others to believe as well.
Rightly, the Scripture says in the book of Hebrews:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
It is impossible to please God without faith. That ought to get anybody’s attention. Jesus knew it, and that’s why He got results every time.
3. God is not holding back on you
It’s amazing how many people go through life thinking that the reason they didn’t get an answer to their prayer was because God didn’t want them to have what they were asking.
Jesus always got what He wanted. Always. He said so. He knew He would always be answered.
Consider His encounter with Martha at Bethany, before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Martha actually testified, that she knew God would give Him whatever He asked.
Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
John 11:21-23, NASB
Jesus also made the same statement when He prayed at the tomb of Lazarus.
So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.”
John 11:41-42, NASB
He knew His Father always heard Him, and so should you.
4. God wants you to have everything you pray for
What would be the real point of prayer and the opportunity to ask in prayer if you’re not meant to receive answers?
Of course, not every prayer is about making requests to God. There are several, different kinds of prayer. Christians are admonished to pray with all kinds of prayer and be watchful in prayer for all believers.
But when the purpose of certain prayers is to make requests of God, you should know God wants you to have what you’re asking for. Jesus taught His disciples and made very striking statements about prayer.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
It helps your faith greatly knowing that God actually wants for you to receive answers to your prayers.
5. God’s answer is always Yes.
Jesus always had answers to prayer. It’s interesting how he never had all the excuses that most Christians tend to have when it comes to answered prayer.
Many Christians believe that God’s answers to prayer are “Yes”, “No” and “Now now”. As logical as that sounds, Jesus didn’t appear to have had any other response other than a Yes from God – every time. Not that I’ve seen, anyway.
Actually, He had to watch Himself or He would literally just get anything He asked for. While teaching His disciples about prayer, He taught them to use His Name in prayer, making requests and receiving answers.
Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.
John 16:24, NASB
In the garden of Gethsemane, He had to change His prayer from wanting to escape the suffering ahead, to placing Himself on the will of God. He likely knew that the Father might not have refused Him.
Even at His arrest, He was sure He would have anything if only He asked for it.
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”
I will not talk in this post about why then certain prayers appear to go unanswered. Maybe let’s leave that for another post. But if what Jesus experienced and taught is anything to go by – and actually it is a lot of what we should go by – then Jesus always had a Yes answer from God.
The Scripture later tells us that, whatever is recorded as a promise of God, has a Yes answer in Christ.
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.
2 Corinthians 1:20
Be encouraged in your faith, knowing that you can expect the same results Jesus had when He was on the earth, because you pray and function in His Name. It’s all the reason to pray, and keep praying. Don’t stop.