In this week’s study, we examine Jesus’ prayer as he awaited His betrayer. In light of what He knew lay before Him, Jesus prayed an honest yet submissive prayer to the Father. As I read this passage, I sometimes wonder since Jesus already knew what He was going to do, then why was He praying. We may wonder the same thing when we pray (Ex: Why pray if God already knows what we need?). Jesus’ prayer reminds us of at least five ways prayer helps in any situation.
First of all, prayer helps us keep perspective. Jesus knew agony awaited Him (the cup He wanted to pass) and He could have easily focused on His rights as the Son. But He needed to remember who He was. He was the Son sent by the Father for this task. Prayer helps us remember who we are.
Prayer also helps us keep our focus on God. Jesus called on the Father, recognizing who He was addressing. Our focus can get so out of whack some times. I have to admit there have been times when I lead a public prayer when I was really addressing the people around me with the Father listening in rather than the other way around. I need to keep in mind who I am addressing….the Father.
Third, prayer also helps us keep a team mentality. Here’s what I mean. Teams do not work alone. As Jesus faced the cross, He did so with the Father and the Spirit accompanying Him. They were there too…Jesus addressed Him from the cross, asking for the forgiveness of His mockers. Prayer helps us remember that we are not alone. Jesus promised the He would never leave us or forsake us (see Hebr. 13:5).
Fourth, prayer helps us keep the big picture in mind. Jesus knew there was a plan for all of eternity. Paul reminded the Ephesian believers that the Father “chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph. 1:4). Prayer helps us keep God’s redemptive plan (the big picture) in mind as we face life’s challenges.
The last thing prayer does is helps us keep our role in mind. Not only does God have a plan, He includes us in that plan. We have a role to play. Our role may be very different from the role others play, but that does not diminish the fact that God assigns us a role. When He called Jeremiah to be a prophet, God reminded him that He had created him for a specific role in His kingdom work (Jer. 1:5). Prayer reminds us that we have a place in God’s plan too.
As you read and reflect on Matthew 26:36-46, what other insights do you gain about prayer? How will those insights change how you pray this week?