The Ideal Pray-er
Tim Temple

Introduction

We have begun a series of studies about how we can respond to God. We talked about knowing God, and now we are talking about responding to God. One of the most immediate ways that we can respond to God is by responding to Him in prayer . Last week, we thought about some of the basic elements of prayer—some things that we need to be aware of in praying. Today, we want to think about what I am calling, The Ideal Pray-er .

If you think about that for a minute, you might think that we are going to talk about the best possible prayer that you can pray, but actually what we are going to be talking about today is the Person who is our ideal in prayer. The Lord Jesus Christ, fortunately for us, has a number of His prayers recorded in Scripture, and many things about Jesus Christ's praying are recorded in Scripture for us. Today we will think about Jesus, who would have had to be the perfect Pray-er—the perfect One who prayed.

Probably the best known prayer of Jesus is the one we commonly call The Lord's Prayer , but interestingly enough, as many of you know, that prayer was never prayed by Jesus Himself. Actually it was a pattern for His disciples and for us about how to pray. It was what we could call a sample prayer , and if nothing else, it should be called the disciples' prayer , because the prayers that Jesus actually prayed are much more in detail than that one which is usually called The Lord's Prayer .

The longest prayer actually prayed by Jesus is recorded for us in John, chapter 17, and that is the one that we are going to use for our starting point about how Jesus prayed. No doubt there are other prayers that Jesus prayed that are not recorded for us in Scripture, but of the ones that are recorded, this is the longest and most detailed. This prayer was prayed at the close of Jesus' ministry on earth. In the very next chapter, the process of His trials and His crucifixion begins to be recorded.

Jesus' Prayer for Us

Although it is not our purpose in this lesson to study the contents of this prayer in specific detail, it is very significant to realize that this prayer was prayed for you and me. Look at John, chapter 17, beginning with verse 6:

John 17

6I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Let's stop there for just a moment. Notice specifically in verse 9, Jesus says, “I pray for them.” He was praying for those who had believed in Him. Isn't it an amazing thing to know that Jesus Christ Himself prayed for those who trust Him and believe in Him as Savior?

Skip down to verse 15, and we will see something about the way in which He prayed:

John 17

15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

You would think that the best thing that God could do for us, and the thing that Jesus should have prayed for us, was that as soon as we trust Christ as Savior, God would just take us on to Heaven. Wouldn't that be a wonderful thing? It would save us so much trouble and so much difficulty in the human life if we would just get to go straight into the presence of God. Jesus, however, prayed, “I don't pray that you should take them out of the world.”

In the verses above verse 15, He had talked about how the world was going to hate us because of hating Him. He acknowledged that to the Father, but Jesus knew that it was God the Father's plan for us to stay in the world, primarily so we could tell others about Him. If God took believers straight to Heaven when we trusted Him as Savior, who would there be to tell others how to become a Christian? God knows that we have to stay in this world, and Jesus knew that, so He prayed, “I don't pray that you will take them out of the world, but that you would keep them from the evil one.”

As we move farther over in the Scripture, we see that the Scripture records clearly for us that Jesus, after His resurrection, ascended to the presence of the Father and sits at the right hand of the throne of God, continuing to pray for us, making intercession for us. I am sure that part of what He prays for us is this very thing—not that we will be taken out of the world, nice as that would be for us, but that Satan would not have the victory over us, that He would protect us from evil and the evil one as we live our lives of serving Him.

Set Apart for Him

Verse 17 is another thing that He prayed for us:

John 17

17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

The word sanctify is a word that means “to set apart.” I like to use the illustration of making a reservation. God has a reservation on our lives, just like you make a reservation for a motel room or a reservation for a rental car. That motel room or that rental car is supposed to be set aside for our use so that when we get there it is available for us immediately. That is what the word sanctify means. Jesus said, “Father, I want you to reserve these believers for your use. Sanctify them.” How does He do that? He says in verse 17: “By your truth.” What is truth? “Your Word is truth.”

One of the reasons that we devote our time to the study of the Word of God in our services and in all our major gatherings is because of this. This is the means that God uses to set us apart, to enable us to make Him Lord of our lives and King of our lives. We are set apart by our knowledge of the Word of God and by our acting upon that knowledge, and Jesus prays that the Father will continue to do that for us. In fact, look down at verse 20, where He says:

John 17

20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

If you are the least bit skeptical, you may have been thinking, “Jesus was praying for those twelve disciples, but how do we know that He continues to pray for us?” Verse 20 gives us the answer. These things that He was praying for those immediate disciples who had trusted Him before the Cross, He prays for those of us who would come after them and for those who would come to know Him through our testimony. He is praying for all believers down through the ages until that time when He comes back to take us to be with Himself. This is a wonderful prayer that Jesus prayed, focused primarily on what God would do for you and me, and He continues to pray that way for us as He sits in the presence of the Father in Heaven right now.

I don't know about you, but that is a tremendous comfort for me. It is something that we should ask God to bring to our mind every time we are in a difficult place from Sunday afternoon through Saturday night. It is easy to remember it here in church, but we need to remember it when we are under the gun, when we are facing the pressures of life. Jesus is in Heaven praying for us in just this way as we go through life. We don't face the struggles and the pressures of living for Christ by ourselves. He himself is holding us up before the Father in prayer.

God Addressed as Father

Let's look at this prayer and see some of the ways that Jesus prayed, some of the things that Jesus prayed about, and some other lessons that we might learn from it. First, I want you to notice, in verse 1 of chapter 17, the address of Jesus' prayer:

John 17

1These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

In every prayer that Jesus prayed, He always addressed God as Father . He was the first person recorded in the Bible to be recorded as addressing God as Father . In the Old Testament there were various names by which God was addressed, but Jesus called Him Father .

There is never any sense that He thought He had to get the Father's attention. He never had any doubt that the Father loved Him and heard Him. In fact, In Mark, chapter 14, verse 36, we read that He used the term Abba Father . The word Abba is an Aramaic word that means “Daddy,” “Papa,” or some other term of endearment that you might use for your father. The formal term He used sometimes, but at other times He just literally addressed Himself to His Daddy, which shows the intimate relationship which they had.

It also shows the practicality of prayer and that we don't always have to be formal and rigid and uptight as we pray. We can pray to Him as though He were our Daddy—our Papa. Even in His darkest hour, as Jesus hung on the Cross and cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?”, He addressed Him as “My God.” One of the first things that we learn about Jesus from His prayer is the intimacy and the personal relationship that He had with the Father and, by extension as His children, that we have with God the Father.

Psalm 22, from which Jesus was quoting as He hung on the Cross when He said, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, goes on to say that He would say in that prayer, “Do not be far from Me; oh My strength, hasten to help Me.” Jesus had a completely confident attitude about what God would do for Him as He came to Him in prayer. He was free to be open and honest with the Father. He spoke what was on His heart. He asked for exactly what He wanted. At the same time, there was never any arrogance, there was never any demanding or any disrespect of God in any of the prayers of Jesus. Even though God the Father is Daddy to Jesus, He is also the holy and righteous Father. Look at John, chapter 17, verse 11:

John 17

11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Let me call to your attention who is referred to as the Holy Father here. It is a blasphemous thing to refer to any human being as Holy Father . It is a name of God. It is a term that the Son of God applied to God the Father. That is a name that was reserved to be used within the Trinity. Don't ever be guilty of calling any human being Holy Father . It is a shame that the Pope is so often addressed in that way. That is blasphemous. The Pope is not God, and he doesn't deserve to be addressed in the way that Jesus addressed God the Father, and neither does any other human being. No priest, no bishop, no church official ever deserves to be referred to in that way. That is a name of God.

God, the Holy Father

The reason that I mentioned this particular verse is that even though He was Daddy, He was also Holy Father. Look down at verse 25, where He says:

John 17

25O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

In a prayer that is recorded in Luke, chapter 10, verse 21, He refers to God the Father as “Lord of Heaven and earth.” What do we learn from this? We learn that we as God's children can come to Him as our Daddy. We can come to the God of Heaven and earth as confidently as we come to our daddy, with whom we had a perfect human relationship—a loving human relationship. Not everybody has that kind of human relationship, and it is harder for them to comprehend this. If you did not have a good relationship with your own father, then think about those that you know that do have. The confidence and love with which we would come to our loving, earthly father is the same kind of confidence with which we can come to our Heavenly Father. At the same time, we recognize that He is the holy and righteous Father, that He is the Lord of Heaven and earth, that He is the righteous Father.

Only God's Children Can Pray

The major point that I want to make is that the thing we must do before we can pray at all is to be sure that we are God's child. Do you see that? It is God's children who come to Him in prayer. It is people who can address Him as Father who can come to Him in prayer. If you have never trusted Christ as your personal Savior, if you have never come to the place where you believed that when Jesus Christ died, He was dying for your sins, you cannot pray. If you have not recognized that you are a guilty sinner before God and that you are going to have to stand in the presence of a holy and righteous God and answer for your sins, and if you have not realized that you cannot do that, and acknowledged that He took that guilt, that sin on Himself, and God the Father accepted that payment, then you cannot pray. Technically speaking, the only prayer that God will hear from unbelievers is, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.” The only prayer that God will hear from an unbeliever is, “I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior.”

God is a God of grace, and God is a God of sovereignty, and it may be that some unbeliever in a time of deep need in his life would cry out to God for some kind of physical and spiritual help, and God in His grace would grant that, but the only people that have the assurance of the right to pray to God the Father are His children. You can become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians, chapter 3, verse 26 says:

Galatians 3

26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

That is how we become sons of God. Galatians, chapter 4, verse 6 says:

Galatians 4

6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

The first lesson in prayer is that you have to be a child of God before you can call upon God as your Father.

A Submissive Attitude In Prayer

Verse 4 of John, chapter 17, brings out a second aspect of Jesus' prayers, and that is His attitude in prayer. First, there is a mental attitude that is always present in any of Jesus' prayers, and that is an attitude of obedient submission . Verse 4 says:

John 17

4I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Think about the life of Jesus and all of the various things that He did while He was on the earth and the authority that He spoke with. People listened to Him, the Scripture tells us, because He spoke as one having authority and not as the Scribes and Pharisees. It was obvious that He was a man who had the power of God, and yet the interesting thing is that in several places, as Jesus talked to the Father or even as He talked to His listeners, when He talked about what He was doing on earth, He always spoke in terms of doing something that the Father had given Him to do. Here in verse 4, He says that:

John 17

4…I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Jesus was a servant of God. He was a man on a mission. He had come from Heaven to earth to accomplish the Father's will. He did many, many things, but all of that was wrapped up in accomplishing the will of the Father. The earliest details that we have about the Lord Jesus in His earthly life is of Him saying to His mother, when He was eight years old, “I must be about my Father's business.” They had started out without Him and had to go back to the temple and look for Him. They found Him disputing and discussing things with the teachers of Judaism. He said, “I must be about My Father's business. Don't you know that?” His mission was to do the Father's will, and even in His most agonizing prayer as He came to the close of His life, He said in Luke, chapter 22, verse 42:

Luke 22

42…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

He always prayed in view of the Father's will. That was always His attitude. Toward the close of His life, He summarized for His disciples His attitude in life. In John, chapter 8, verse 29 He said:

John 8

29And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

To be effective in prayer, that is the approach that we have to take. Effective prayer comes out of a life that is devoted to pleasing the Father. Effective prayer comes from a life that is devoted to accomplishing God's mission here on earth.

I believe that this day and age in which we live is probably the hardest time in history to have that kind of an attitude because of all the technological advances that we have in our day—television, movies, computers, and all of these things. We are constantly bombarded with everything but submission to the Father. We have incoming stimuli visually and auditorially, and we can hardly move around without being bombarded with stimuli from the worldly way of life. Yet, God's goal for us is to have that attitude of Jesus.

Even as Christians, it is easy to focus on these standards of the world, and because of that, we tend to look at the possessions that we have and the accomplishments that we have as ours. That idea, however, is pure baloney, and sliced pretty thick at that. Listen, you had no control over the genetics that determined your abilities and your appearance and your health—those things that enabled you to get the things that you have and be in the place that you are. You had no control over that. Those things came from God. You had very little to do with choosing the people who molded your life and molded your philosophy and brought you to the direction of life that you espouse today. God brought those things about in your life.

If God had not overshadowed all those things, there is no telling where any of us would be today. Why can't we understand, as Jesus did, that our dependence is upon God for all that we are and all that we have and all that we can possibly accomplish. Jesus understood that and He prayed out of that kind of background. That should be a lesson for us.

The Time and Place for Prayer

There are some other mental attitudes that Jesus had that are lessons for us also. Have you ever said, “I just don't feel like praying right now.”? All of us at some time or other have failed to pray for a lot of different reasons. Maybe because we didn't feel like it. Jesus' experiences in prayer teach us that any time and any place, in any kind of emotional situation, it is legitimate for us to pray. For example, if you look back at verse 5 of John, chapter 17, He says:

John 17

5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

Here we see Jesus longing to be with the Father. When He prayed this, He was in a time of longing for God to do something for Him. Look down in verse 24, He says:

John 17

24Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

He was praying at a time of great love and desire for His followers, including, as we saw, you and me. He prayed when He was in an emotion of love. In Luke, chapter 10, we read that He prayed when He was full of joy. We read in Mark, chapter 14, verse 34, that at another time He prayed when He was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. He prayed when He was full of joy, and He also prayed when He was overwhelmed with sorrow, even unto the point of death.

It is interesting to notice that Jesus had all of these emotions. Did you know that Jesus was sorrowful when He was on earth? Why do you think He understands our sorrows so well? He was sorrowful unto the point of death when He was on earth.

At other times He was overwhelmed with joy. He understands all of these emotions, and He prayed at those kinds of times, and that means that we can pray at those kinds of times too.

In Luke, chapter 5, verse 16, we read that He prayed when He was alone with the Father; but in Matthew, chapter 26, He asks His disciples to come and pray with Him. He prayed when He was alone, and He prayed when He was with other people as well.

Jesus' experiences with prayer teach us that we can go to the Father in any kind of mental or emotional condition. There is no need to wait until we feel “up” before we pray. We can pray when we are overwhelmed with sorrow. We don't have to wait until we are presentable emotionally before we can pray. The Father wants to share our joys and comfort us in our sorrows. He wants to be a part of our lives. He wants us to come to Him with these needs.

The Attributes of His Prayer

We have seen the way that Jesus addressed His prayers, and we have talked a little bit about the various attitudes with which He prayed, and now let's think a moment about what I would call, the attributes of His prayers . It is interesting to notice that Jesus prayed in public as well as in private. There needs to be a good balance between the two. As far as I know, we don't have recorded the text of any of the prayers that He prayed in public, but we are told in several places that He prayed before He ate. In Mark, chapter 8, verse 6, in John, chapter 11, verse 6, and in Luke, chapter 22, verse 17, it tells that He was with others and He prayed before they ate, so that was a public prayer.

We know that He attended the synagogue regularly, and one of the things that they did in the synagogue was to have public prayers like we do in our church services. He never said anything about not praying in public.

He probably followed another Jewish practice of praying three times a day just like Daniel did. That was part of that Old Testament context that He lived in. So there was public prayer and private prayer.

There are some Christians who think, I believe because of a misreading of something that Jesus said about praying to the Father secretly, that we should never pray in public. But apparently Jesus didn't know that, because He prayed in public. It is perfectly legitimate to pray in public or to pray together as a group.

Postures of Prayer

Something else that is recorded about the attributes of Jesus' prayers that is interesting to me is His posture. Several different places tells us what position Jesus was in when He prayed. This is a question that sometimes comes up. Is there something more spiritual about kneeling down to pray? I think in past generations, more than now, there was thought to be something more spiritual about kneeling down to pray. Let's think about this for a minute. In the very first verse of the passage that we are looking at in John, chapter 17, we get the first clue:

John 17

1These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

We don't know whether Jesus was standing up or not, but we see that He did lift His eyes up to Heaven. Apparently He didn't have His eyes closed. Ah, Horrors! He didn't have His eyes closed when He prayed? Did you know that there is nothing in the Bible that says that you are supposed to have your eyes closed when you pray? We assume that it must be there somewhere, because we all do it, but Jesus prayed looking up to Heaven.

I will never forget the first time that we went on a trip together as a family, and as I was driving down the road, I said, “Let's pray as we start our trip.” My oldest daughter, who was the only one who could talk at that point, said, “Daddy, who is going to pray?” I said, “I am,” and she said, “Well, stop.” Many times I have prayed for our trip as I was driving along. There is nothing wrong with that. It probably would be better to pull off the highway and have a prayer that wouldn't be distracted by the traffic, but there is nothing wrong with praying with your eyes open. Sometimes it is good to have a prayer list and be praying from a list of requests, and God doesn't in any way condemn us for having our eyes open. It probably helps to have our eyes closed so that we don't get distracted with the things going on around us. I think that is where that tradition has come from.

There are several other postures that are mentioned in various places. In Luke, chapter 22, verse 41, we read that He prayed while kneeling down. In Mark, chapter 14, verse 35, it says that He fell on the ground while He prayed. I have been in many prayer meetings where people kneel down to pray, but I don't ever remember being in a prayer meeting where someone said, “Let's lie down and pray.” I remember them saying, “Let's kneel down and pray,” but I've never seen a prayer meeting where people lay down to pray. Jesus did. In Matthew, chapter 26, verse 39, it says that He not only fell on the ground, but that He fell on His face to pray in a position of humility.

Those are legitimate things to do, and there is nothing wrong, if you feel that it would enhance your relationship with the Father and your time of prayer, to just lie down on the floor and pray to the Father. A less spiritual kind of application would be that I think this indicates that it is all right to pray after you have already gone to bed at night—to lie in your bed and pray.

When Jesus fell on His face in Matthew, chapter 26, it was at a time of great agony and emotional feeling, and I think that there are those times in our lives when we feel so overcome with our needs and our burdens that it might be a good idea to literally fall on our face before God and pray with our face to the floor, just as a reminder to ourselves and to God how deeply we feel about what is going on. We don't have to do that, but Jesus did it, and I think it gives us warrant to do it if we feel like it would enhance our relationship with the Father.

The Time of Prayer

This passage in John, chapter 17, doesn't mention it, but another attribute of Jesus' prayers is the time that He prayed. In various places in the Scripture it says something about when He prayed. For example, in Mark, chapter 1, verse 35, we read:

Mark 1

35And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Down through the years, it seems to me that I have noticed that we have come to think there is something especially spiritual about getting up early in the morning to pray. A lot of Christians who have focused on discipleship have taught their disciples that they need to get up early in the morning and have their quiet time with the Lord, because Jesus got up before dawn to pray, and we need to do that too.

Something that those people might mention that I have never heard is that Luke, chapter 6, verse 12, says that He prayed all night long. So if you think it is especially helpful to get up real early in the morning to pray, then maybe you have better stay up all night and pray, too, because that is another thing that Jesus did, and certainly there would be nothing wrong in our doing it. It also mentions His praying at mealtimes. It mentions His praying in the evening also, so there is no set time to pray.

I will never forget, a few years ago, I had a friend who had become a Christian when he was in his late forties. He was an All-American football player in college, and his personality and lifestyle was that of an All-American football player. He went into the oil business, was a wonderful guy, and by the time I knew him he was Vice President of a bank. He got a promotion and became President of a bank in Amarillo. When he went to Amarillo, I put him in touch with some friends in a church there, and there was a particular man in that church who took this banker as his disciple. A few weeks after my friend had moved to Amarillo, he came back to Wichita Falls. I said, “Dick, tell me how things are going.” He said, “You know, it is just the most wonderful thing. Jay is teaching me about prayer. Jay said that what I needed to focus on right now was prayer. You know, all my life I thought you had to wait until the end of the day and bow down beside your bed and say your prayers at night. But I have seen from the Scripture that you can pray anytime—morning, noon or night. I'm telling you, I pray in the shower, I pray on the golf course, I pray driving down the street; Hell, it's wonderful.”

Now that is a practical expression about the goodness of prayer. He loved to be able to pray whenever he wanted to. I suppose Jay worked on his language somewhere down the line after that also. I don't mean to be irreverent in quoting that, but I think that it is just an example of the practicality of prayer. We can pray anywhere, and it is wonderful to be able to pray anytime, anywhere. Jesus did that, and we can learn from Him.

There is an important application to make at this point, and that is that Jesus was heard, no matter what position He used or what time He prayed. We have to be careful that we don't offend traditions or cultures of other people, but when you are alone with God or with people that you are familiar with, just be yourself when you pray. If you want to kneel down, kneel down. If you want to lie down, lie down. If you want to stand up and look into Heaven as Jesus did, then do that. There is no set formula for prayer, and no set posture for prayer. Focus on the contents of your prayer and of your relationship to God. Remember His holiness, but focus on Him rather than what you are wearing or what you are doing or what your posture is. Don't let tradition or superstition or whatever force you to pray in one certain way at one certain time during the day.

Types of Prayers Jesus Prayed

There is one last attribute of Jesus's prayers, and that is of the types of prayers that He offered. This is instructive also. Here in John, chapter 17, there are two types of prayers that He prayed. First we have petition in verses 1-5, which was prayer for Himself. In verses 1-5, He prayed about Himself, and technically speaking, we would call that petition . We can come to God with our petitions, asking Him for things that we need.

The other kind of prayer in John, chapter 17, is intercession , and that is prayer for others. Jesus spent the bulk of this prayer praying for you and me, for His disciples, and for others who would follow them. In fact, it is interesting that He spent three times as much prayer time praying for us as He did praying for Himself. There was petition ; there was intercession ; and the New Testament records Him praying every other kind of prayer, except confession , of course.

It is interesting to note that the prayer that He prayed most often was the prayer of thanksgiving to God. The most often recorded prayer was a prayer of thanksgiving. We remember as we were studying the book of Romans, we saw that that terrible, sinful condition of the human race ends, “Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations.” Thankfulness is the keystone of our relationship with God, and Jesus prayed most often about things that He was thankful for.

The prayers in which the most details are recorded in the New Testament are the prayers of intercession for others. This would seem to tell us that any kind of prayer is legitimate for us to pray. The kinds that are most like Jesus are prayers of thanksgiving to God and prayers of intercession for others. Of course, this fits right in with what Jesus said was the summary of the whole commandments of God. He said, “Love the Lord with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself,” and His prayers reflected that. He prayed prayers of thanksgiving to God, and He prayed for the needs of others.

Making Prayer a Priority

Of all the things that we can learn from the prayers of Jesus, the most basic and underlying one is that prayer was a priority with Jesus. He missed sleep sometimes to pray. He got up before the alarm clock went off. He stayed up all night sometimes to pray. He prayed when He had been working hard all day. Prayer was a priority with Jesus. Sometimes He put off opportunities to be with others. He would leave a group of people and go off and pray. He took time to pray about things that He already knew something about. For example, Jesus was a Master of casting out demons. The demons knew who He was, and they fled from Him. He was in complete control of the demons, but it is interesting to notice that almost every time He was involved in casting out demons, He prayed before He did it.

Sometimes we think, “I don't need to pray about that. I already know what God wants about that.” Jesus prayed about things that He already knew. He knew exactly what God wanted, and exactly what God was going to do about it. He prayed before He healed people. He prayed in the process of healing people, so don't think that just because you prayed about something once, or just because you know what God might want to do in a certain situation, that you should not pray about it. Pray about everything.

I think one of the reasons that you and I don't pray more than we do is that it is just not enough of a priority with us. You know, a very sobering thing to think about is what your priorities are in life. What are your priorities? As you think about that question, I will tell you one way that you can figure out what your priorities are. Your priorities in life may not be what you have written down on some list of priorities. Your priorities are those things that you spend the most time with.

Sit down and take the time to analyze how you spend about three days. You need to analyze it over several days at least to see what the real priorities are, but just see where you spend your time. What is it that you devote your time to? That is where your priorities are.

It is interesting to me that many times we think—I am as guilty of this as anybody—“I just don't have time to pray today. I don't have time for that.” But most of us find time to eat at least once a day, and some of us even more than that. Most of us find time to take a shower and comb our hair at least once a day. We find time for the things that are important for us.

Conclusion

We have the privilege of talking to the God of the Universe. The simplest and easiest way to respond to God, as we have come to know Him in recent weeks, is to pray to Him—to talk to Him. Why not let that be a priority in your life. Make time for that. Arrange your life in such a way that you can find the time to talk to the very God Who created you and Who loves you enough to have redeemed you from your sin. These are the lessons that we can learn from the ideal Pray-er.


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