Prayer was a vital part of Jesus’ life and ministry. Even though He was the Son of God, Jesus made time to connect with God the Father through prayer. If prayer was that important to the Sinless Son of God, how much more should prayer be a priority in our lives as sinful people who depend on God’s power and grace?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Jesus prayed to strengthen His relationship with God, receive guidance and direction, gain courage and perseverance, set an example for us to follow, defeat temptation and sin, empathize with human struggles, and ultimately fulfill God’s will.
In this comprehensive article, we will explore 10 key reasons why Jesus prayed and what we can learn from His prayer life to deepen our own relationship with God.
To Strengthen His Relationship with God
Quality Time with the Father
Jesus spent time in prayer to strengthen His intimate relationship with God the Father. Prayer provided precious moments where Jesus could connect with God, share His heart, and receive strength and wisdom for the challenges ahead (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16).
Just as quality time is essential for deepening relationships between people, Jesus understood that regularly setting aside time to commune with the Father was vital for their bond.
When Jesus prayed, He wasn’t simply reciting memorized words or petitions. Rather, prayer allowed Him to have transparent, vulnerable conversations with the Father. Jesus openly shared His feelings, needs, thankfulness, and worship with God.
He also listened for the Father’s voice, gaining insight through the Holy Spirit into God’s will (John 5:19). This genuine back-and-forth flow in prayer nurtured a profoundly close connection between Jesus and the Father.
Jesus’ example reminds believers that intimacy with God is cultivated through persistent, focused time enjoying His presence in prayer. As we make seeking God a priority each day, our relationship with Him will grow stronger and more secure.
Prayer was a lifeline that sustained Jesus’ close fellowship with God the Father throughout His earthly ministry. When Jesus prayed, He wasn’t simply going through religious motions – rather, He was engaging in intimate communion with God.
Jesus’ prayers displayed deep reverence and love for the Father. He addressed God with moving titles like “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father” (John 17:11, 25). Jesus’ words were saturated with worship and awe for the Almighty.
His prayers also reflected tender affection, as He called the Father “Abba” – an affectionate, childlike term similar to “Papa” (Mark 14:36).
Beyond stirring titles, Jesus’ prayers revealed that He and the Father shared a unique, unparalleled bond. Jesus spoke of the glory He had with the Father “before the world existed” (John 17:5). He claimed unity and equality with God, asserting “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
The depth of love and intimacy between Jesus and God went far beyond any earthly relationship.
As the perfect Son of God, Jesus alone could experience this level of closeness and fellowship with the Father. When believers pray “in Jesus’ name,” they are blessed to approach God covered by Christ’s righteousness and intimacy with the Father.
Through prayer, Christians are privileged to participate in the same holy communion that Jesus Himself enjoyed.
To Receive Guidance and Direction
Seeking God’s Will
Jesus often prayed to seek guidance from God regarding major decisions and direction for his life and ministry (Luke 6:12, 9:18, 11:1). He recognized that as the Son of God, he was dependent on the Father to show him His perfect will (John 5:30).
Through prayer, Jesus aligned his thoughts, desires, and actions with God’s purposes.
For example, before choosing the twelve disciples, Luke 6:12-13 states that Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. The next day, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them.
This shows Jesus’ commitment to seek God’s will through prayer before making important decisions.
Jesus also prayed before asking his disciples the pivotal question – “Who do you say I am?” (Luke 9:18). He likely prayed for God’s guidance to reveal himself more fully to them at this crucial moment. Through prayer, he discerned the right time to elevate their understanding of his true identity.
Getting Input for Important Decisions
In addition to guidance, Jesus’ prayers also provided space for the input of God’s wisdom. Jesus did not rely solely on his human wisdom, but constantly submitted himself in prayer to receive the wise counsel of his Heavenly Father.
For instance, before choosing his twelve disciples, it’s likely Jesus also prayed something like this – “Father, give me the wisdom to choose the right men.” He recognized that only through prayer could he gain the God-given discernment to select the specific individuals who would advance God’s kingdom.
Through prayer, Jesus also received assurance and confirmation regarding his decisions. After spending the night in prayer before selecting his disciples, Jesus likely felt confident in his choices since he had humbly submitted himself to God’s guidance during that pivotal moment.
Prayer became Jesus’ lifeline to gaining clarity amidst big decisions.
To Gain Courage and Perseverance
Jesus Faced Intense Opposition
During His earthly ministry, Jesus faced intense opposition from religious leaders, powerful governments, and even His own followers at times. As the Son of God bringing a radical message of salvation and transformation, Jesus disrupted the status quo and threatened those in places of power and authority.
For example, the Pharisees and Sadducees constantly tried to undermine, discredit, and even kill Jesus because His teachings challenged their religious authority and control over people (Luke 20:19-20).
According to one estimate, Jesus was directly confronted by Jewish religious leaders at least six different times as they tried to trap Him with difficult questions or condemn Him for healing on the Sabbath.
The political powers also felt threatened, as evidenced by Jesus’ interrogation and crucifixion ordered by Pontius Pilate at the urging of Jewish leaders (Luke 23:1-25). Even His followers sometimes doubted, denied, or abandoned Him, seen most clearly on the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested (Mark 14:50-52).
Prayer Empowered Him to Endure
In the face of such intense trials and tribulation, how did Jesus manage to endure and fulfill His mission on earth? Prayer provided courage, strength, and perseverance.
The Gospels record at least twenty-one instances where Jesus withdrew to pray – sometimes spending whole nights immersed in communion with the Father. Through these times of prayer, Jesus aligned His will with God’s, received divine wisdom and direction, and was spiritually refreshed to carry on His work.
For example, Luke 5:16 notes that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” And Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Just as Jesus needed extended times of prayer, so too did short “breathing prayers” help Him endure immediate challenges. When struck during His trials, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them…” (Luke 23:34). Even on the cross in immense agony, Jesus exemplified perseverance through prayer.
By following Jesus’ example, Christians today can also tap into divine courage, strength, and perseverance through a lifestyle of prayer – enduring hardships, oppositions, persecutions, and daily trials through the infusing power of God.
To Set an Example for Us to Follow
A Model Prayer Life
Jesus set an amazing example of having a dynamic prayer life to teach us the great importance of regular communication with God. Throughout the Gospels, we see Jesus frequently going away to lonely places to pray – sometimes rising very early in the morning before others were awake or going out late at night after a long day of ministry.
Prayer was a central priority and a lifeline for Jesus. He knew He needed time with the Father to align His heart, find guidance, and gain strength for the work He was called to do.
One powerful example is when Jesus went to pray right after performing the miracle of feeding the 5,000 people. Even though He had an exhausting day, Jesus purposefully withdrew to the mountain to pray alone rather than immediately seeking food or rest for Himself (Matthew 14:23).
This showed his followers that prayer should come before physical needs. Jesus also prayed before major decisions like choosing the twelve disciples (Luke 6:12-13). By making prayer a constant habit, He demonstrated full dependence on the Father at all times – not just during convenient or crisis situations.
Jesus’ example of prayer challenges believers today to make personal communication with God a consistent lifestyle and priority. Setting aside undistracted time daily to read the Word, meditate, make requests, intercede for others, listen, and praise helps transform prayer from just a religious ritual into a vibrant and intimate relationship with the Creator.
Following Jesus’ model prayer life trains us to turn to the Father frequently and rely on His supernatural wisdom, power and comfort rather than trying to handle everything in our own limited strength.
Instructions to Pray
In addition to modeling a dynamic prayer life, Jesus also directly instructed His followers about the need to pray regularly and persistently. In fact, prayer is one of the most frequent topics He taught on during His ministry on earth.
Jesus made it clear through parables and commands that God desires His children to pray with boldness, persistence, and expectant faith.
For example, right after teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus immediately launched into the parable of the persistent friend who kept knocking at his neighbor’s door at midnight until his request was finally granted (Luke 11:5-10).
This illustrates the importance of boldly and persistently bringing our requests to God rather than giving up. Jesus then reassured His disciples that if sinful fathers give good gifts when asked, “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).
Jesus also stressed the need for faith and perseverance in the parable of the persistent widow who kept pleading her case before an unrighteous judge until he finally relented (Luke 18:1-8). And when teaching about prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus instructed His followers not to babble on with empty repetitions like the pagans but to pray with faith-filled persistence, knowing that the Father hears and will reward our seeking (Matthew 6:7-8).
Jesus made it clear that through believing prayer, we have access to Almighty God who cares for us deeply as His children.
The many examples and instructions Jesus gave about prayer communicate its indispensable role in a dynamic spiritual life and relationship with God. He taught that persistent, believing prayer unleashes spiritual power and makes the impossible possible.
As we follow Christ’s model and commands to pray without ceasing, it transforms not only our own lives but also advances God’s kingdom purposes on earth.
To Defeat Temptation and Sin
Jesus Was Tempted
As fully human, Jesus faced real temptations just like the rest of us. After fasting for 40 days in the wilderness, the devil appeared to Jesus and tempted Him three times (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger, to test God’s protection by jumping off the temple, and to gain authority over all the kingdoms of the world.
In each case, Jesus resisted the temptation by quoting Scripture back to the devil. This shows that spending time in God’s Word gives us strength to defeat temptation. Though Jesus was perfect, His time of fasting made Him hungry and more vulnerable to temptation.
Still, He emerged victorious over the enemy by standing on the truth of Scripture.
Prayer Strengthened Him Against Sin
In addition to knowing God’s Word, Jesus also received strength to defeat temptation and avoid sin through prayer. The Gospel of Luke portrays prayer as a vital lifeline for Jesus throughout His ministry (Luke 3:21, 5:16, 6:12, 9:18, 289:29, 22:4146, 23:34 & 46).
He often withdrew to desolate places to pray – no doubt seeking wisdom from the Father as He faced important decisions or opposition. For example, before choosing the twelve disciples, Jesus spent the night in prayer (Luke 6:12-13).
Through communing with God, He gained direction and confidence to carry out His mission. As the perfect Son of God, Jesus provides an inspiring model for us. By regularly praying and studying Scripture, we too can receive strength to resist temptation.
To Empathize with Human Struggles
Jesus Was Fully Human
As the Son of God, Jesus was divine, but He was also fully human. He experienced the full range of human emotions and struggles (Hebrews 4:15). By becoming human, Jesus was able to empathize with our weaknesses. He knew what it was like to be hungry, thirsty, and tired.
He wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:35) and agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion (Luke 22:44). As a human, Jesus can understand and sympathize with our temptations and pain (Hebrews 2:17-18).
His humanity allows Him to be both our perfect representative before God and our compassionate high priest.
He Understood Through Prayer
As a human, Jesus frequently spent time in prayer. The Gospels portray Him praying regularly – in the morning (Mark 1:35), before meals (Matthew 14:19, Mark 6:41), during major events (Luke 9:18), and at other times. He would often withdraw to desolate places for solitary prayer (Luke 5:16).
Clearly, prayer was vitally important to Jesus during His earthly ministry. Through prayer, Jesus was able to maintain close fellowship with His Heavenly Father and seek strength and guidance for fulfilling His mission on earth. Prayer also allowed Jesus to empathize with human struggles.
He knew the temptation to avoid the cross (Matthew 26:39), the pain of rejection and betrayal (Luke 22:39-46), and the sorrow of leaving His followers (John 17:6-26). By pouring out His heart to God, Jesus was equipped to empathize with our human frailties and serve as our compassionate high priest (Hebrews 2:17-18).
To Teach His Disciples
Prayer Was Part of Discipleship
Jesus knew that prayer would be essential for his disciples to grow in their faith and relationship with God. As part of their discipleship training, Jesus modeled and taught his disciples how to pray.
Prayer was not just a ritual or habit for Jesus – it was a vital lifeline of communication with the Father. By observing Jesus’ dedication to prayer, the disciples could see just how important prayer was in Jesus’ own life and ministry.
They witnessed how he would frequently slip away to solitary places to pray before major decisions or events. Through his example, the disciples learned that prayer should be an integral part of the believer’s daily life, not just an occasional act.
Jesus wanted his followers to understand that prayer is speaking with God. It’s not just reciting memorized words or following a specific formula. Jesus taught his disciples that prayer could be a simple, intimate conversation with their loving heavenly Father.
His model prayer, often called the Lord’s Prayer, provided a helpful framework – encouraging them to pray for God’s purposes, provision, pardon, and protection. But Jesus made it clear that prayer was not confined to specific words or repetitive prayers.
Rather, he modeled speaking openly and honestly with God about anything on their hearts.
Part of why Jesus emphasized prayer so much to his disciples was so they could experience the power of God through answered prayer. After teaching them to ask, seek, and knock in prayer, Jesus reassured them that the Father hears and responds.
Through praying boldly and persistently, the disciples would see God provide, guide, heal, restore, and work miraculously. Their faith would be strengthened when they brought their needs to their heavenly Father in prayer and experienced his loving response.
Jesus wanted them to know the joy of partnering and conversing with God through prayer.
He Modeled How to Pray
One of the most impactful ways Jesus taught his disciples to pray was through modeling. The disciples observed firsthand how prayer was a cornerstone of Jesus’ own relationship with the Father. They witnessed how Jesus would frequently withdraw to desolate places to pray – sometimes rising early in the morning to seek God or praying all night long.
The disciples saw Jesus pray before important decisions, major miracles, and even meals. They heard his prayers of thanksgiving and praise to the Father. Through observing Jesus’ dedicated prayer life, the disciples could grasp just how vital prayer was.
Jesus gave his disciples an inside look at what real intimate prayer looks like. In John 17, Jesus prays a lengthy prayer, allowing the disciples to listen in as he lays his heart before the Father. This prayer reveals Jesus’ deep love for his followers and his fervent petitions to God on their behalf.
The disciples glean much about prayer as they hear Jesus intercede for them, pouring out his heart to the Father. This inside glimpse teaches them to pray openly and honestly about their real concerns.
Beyond just modeling prayer as a lifestyle, Jesus also taught specific lessons on prayer that challenged traditional views. He instructed his followers to pray with humility, not lofty, public prayers to gain admiration.
Jesus emphasized praying in secret and avoiding meaningless repetition – drawing close to God through intimate conversation. He reminded them to pray according to God’s will, with perseverance and persistence. And Jesus calls his disciples to prayerfully forgive those who sin against them.
Through his teachings, Jesus revealed a heart-focused, relational approach to prayer centered on loving fellowship with the Father.
To Perform Miracles
Supernatural Power from Prayer
Jesus often prayed before performing miracles, seeking supernatural power and authority from God the Father to carry out these astonishing feats (John 11:41-42). Through prayer, Jesus accessed the realm of the Spirit, where anything is possible with God (Mark 10:27).
Amazingly, Jesus gave thanks to the Father before miraculously feeding the 5,000, demonstrating his complete trust and dependence on God’s provision (John 6:11). Prayer aligned Jesus’ will with the Father’s purpose, as he only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19).
By praying first, Jesus showed submission to the Father as the source of his power.
Notable examples where Jesus’ prayers unleashed divine supernatural power include:
- Healing the deaf, mute, blind, and crippled (Mark 7:32-35)
- Calming a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:39)
- Raising Lazarus from the dead after four days in the tomb (John 11:41-44)
Jesus taught his disciples that certain miracles like driving out demons could only happen through prayer (Mark 9:29). The profound miracles Jesus performed through prayer displayed God’s compassion and authority, causing many to believe in him.
Healed and Delivered Through Prayer
Prayer is what fueled Jesus’ miraculous healing ministry. Time and again people were brought to Jesus for healing after conventional methods failed. When two blind men approached Jesus asking for sight, he simply asked, “Do you believe I can do this?”
They said yes, so Jesus touched their eyes, praying, “Let it happen” – and instantly they could see (Matthew 9:28-30)! This demonstration shows God’s heart to heal in response to prayer and faith.
Jesus also prayed and fasted when casting out stubborn demons that were afflicting and oppressing people (Mark 9:29). Through prayer he gained spiritual authority to break demonic strongholds and set the captives free.
The crowds were amazed as demonized, deranged people were suddenly clothed, sane, and delivered after Jesus prayed for them (Luke 8:35-36).
|Woman with bleeding
|2 blind men
As Isaiah 53:5 declares, “By his wounds we are healed“. Jesus prayed first, then acted in faith to bring the Father’s will to pass. Through prayer, Jesus accessed heavenly power to perform mighty miracles and demonstrate God’s unconditional love.
To Take Quiet Time
Escaping Crowds and Busyness
Jesus often withdrew from crowds and busyness to spend time alone in prayer and communion with God the Father (Luke 5:16). He needed extended periods of solitude and quietness to recharge spiritually in the midst of an extremely demanding public ministry.
One key reason Jesus practiced solitude was to temporarily escape the constant demands of ministry. The crowds that thronged him were needy and unrelenting in their requests. Jesus compassionately ministered to them, but recognized the importance of setting healthy boundaries and taking time for spiritual renewal through prayer.
In today’s world of nonstop activity and busyness, Jesus’ example reminds us to regularly unplug and purposefully seek out quietness. Setting aside a daily quiet time helps us to de-stress, realign priorities, hear God’s voice, and be spiritually renewed to serve others more effectively.
Recharging Through Solitude and Prayer
Another vital reason Jesus frequently spent time alone in quiet prayer was to spiritually recharge through intimate communion with God. Just as our mobile phones need regular recharging, so too our spirits need regular quiet time to reconnect with God.
Jesus’ prayer times were often long and unhurried. Luke 6:12 notes, “In those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God.” Spending significant time resting in God’s presence filled and reenergized Jesus’ inner being, empowering him to pour himself out in compassionate service.
If someone as spiritually mature as Jesus recognized his need for lengthy quiet times with the Father, how much more should we prioritize daily quietness and solitude. Regularly unplugging from all distractions to sit in quiet meditation enables us to be divinely recharged and renewed in the depths of our being.
To Ultimately Fulfill God’s Will
Jesus consistently prayed to align His will with God the Father’s divine plan. As the beloved Son of God, Jesus sought to obey and honor His Father in everything He did during His earthly ministry (John 6:38-40).
Through prayer, Jesus humbled Himself before the Father asking for wisdom, strength, and guidance to fulfill the special purpose for which He was sent – to give His life as a ransom for humanity (Matthew 20:28).
Aligned Himself with God’s Plan
Jesus’ prayers aligned His will perfectly with God’s divine plan of salvation. Though Jesus was God incarnate, He set aside His divine privileges to become man (Philippians 2:5-8). As a man, Jesus depended on prayer and the Holy Spirit to accomplish His Father’s will.
Through prayer, Jesus gained the wisdom, discernment, and power needed for His earthly ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing.
Obedience Through Prayer
For Jesus, prayer was a lifeline of humble obedience to the Father. Despite facing grueling opposition and temptation, Jesus persevered in obedience through continual prayer (Luke 22:39-46). Even when facing the agonizing trial of the cross, Jesus prayed in full submission to God’s plan – “not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Through persistent prayer, Jesus fulfilled His earthly mission in perfect obedience to redeem mankind.
In reviewing the prayer life of Jesus, it becomes clear that prayer was foundational to His relationship with God and central to His ministry on earth. Jesus prayed for divine wisdom, strength, guidance, and favor to walk in alignment with the Father’s will.
If the spotless Lamb of God depended so heavily on prayer, how much more should we recognize our desperate need for God through regular prayer?
Following Jesus’ example, we must devote ourselves to prayer – praising God’s glory, seeking His heart, surrendering our lives to His purposes, and receiving grace and power to live for Him. Just as Jesus invited His disciples into a lifestyle of prayer, He invites us into intimate communion with God.
A vibrant prayer life is essential for every follower of Christ. May we faithfully pray without ceasing!