Activated - - NEWS - By Peter Amsterdam, adapted

“Jesus was pray­ing in a cer­tain place, and when He fin­ished, one of His dis­ci­ples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.'”

1 Prayer was an in­te­gral part of Jesus' life and min­istry. There are nu­mer­ous ref­er­ences through­out the Gospels of Jesus pray­ing. He taught His dis­ci­ples to pray, they saw Him pray, they heard Him pray for them, and He gave coun­sel about pray­ing. Be­fore many of the ma­jor events, mir­a­cles, and de­ci­sions in Jesus' life, and right up un­til the time of His death, Jesus spent time in prayer. The fact that Jesus made a point to pray and to teach His dis­ci­ples about prayer in­di­cates that it is an im­por­tant part of dis­ci­ple­ship.

Tak­ing time alone in prayer was a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence in Jesus' life. He took time away from the crowds, and some­times from His clos­est fol­low­ers, to pray. He also prayed in His

2 dis­ci­ples' pres­ence.

See­ing Jesus' ex­am­ple of prayer had a def­i­nite im­pact on the dis­ci­ples, as ev­i­denced through­out the book of Acts, which of­ten speaks of them pray­ing. Jesus also gave His dis­ci­ples in­struc­tions on how to pray. He said, “In this man­ner, there­fore, pray: ‘Our Fa­ther in heaven, hal­lowed be Your name. Your king­dom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And for­give us our debts, as we for­give our debtors. And do not lead us into temp­ta­tion, but de­liver us from the evil one.'”

3 He also taught His dis­ci­ples how not to pray: “When you pray, do not be like the hyp­ocrites, for they love to pray stand­ing in the syn­a­gogues and on the street cor­ners to be seen by oth­ers. Truly I tell you, they have re­ceived their re­ward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Fa­ther, who is un­seen. Then your Fa­ther, who sees what is done in se­cret, will re­ward you. And when you pray, do not keep on bab­bling like pa­gans, for they think they will be heard be­cause of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Fa­ther knows what you need be­fore you ask him.”

4 Jesus taught about be­ing per­sis­tent in prayer, as the Gospel of Luke re­counts: “Jesus told his dis­ci­ples a story to show that they should al­ways pray and never give up.”

5 He also taught the power of prayer, that prayer gets answered, and that prayers should be prayed in faith and con­fi­dence—know­ing that God is allpow­er­ful and that noth­ing is be­yond His ca­pa­bil­ity to an­swer and do. In the book of Matthew, He said, “If you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this moun­tain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will hap­pen. You

can pray for any­thing, and if you have faith, you will re­ceive it.”

6 He ex­horted His dis­ci­ples to watch and to pray against falling into temp­ta­tion and sin. “Watch and pray, lest you en­ter into temp­ta­tion.”

7 Jesus also prayed for oth­ers, as Matthew re­counts in his Gospel: “One day some par­ents brought their chil­dren to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the dis­ci­ples scolded the par­ents for both­er­ing him. But Jesus said, ‘Let the chil­dren come to me. Don't stop them! For the King­dom of Heaven be­longs to those who are like these chil­dren.' And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them be­fore he left.”

8 As shown by the ac­counts of His pray­ing be­fore His arrest, Jesus prayed des­per­ately. The Gospel of Luke tells us: “He with­drew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and prayed. He said, ‘Fa­ther, if it's your will, take this cup of suf­fer­ing away from me. How­ever, not my will but your will must be done.' He was in an­guish and prayed even more earnestly. His sweat be­came like drops of blood falling on the ground.” 9 Prayer is im­por­tant in our lives; it's part of our com­mu­ni­ca­tion with God. Prayer is a means of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with God, of abid­ing in Him. It's a means of con­nect­ing to His power. It's a means of lov­ing and help­ing oth­ers as we pray for them. It's a means of guard­ing our spir­i­tual life and health. It makes a dif­fer­ence in the lives of oth­ers as we pray for them. It gives us the op­por­tu­nity to hum­ble our­selves be­fore God, as we im­plore His help and when we ask Him for for­give­ness.

Peter Amsterdam and his wife, Maria Fon­taine, are di­rec­tors of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional, a Chris­tian com­mu­nity of faith.

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