Pray Like Jesus
Many of us struggle with prayer. We don’t quite know how to start or what to say. Prayer is as essential to the spiritual life as air is to our bodily life. Without air, we die physically. Without prayer, we die spiritually because we are cut off from our source of life, that is, God. As human relationships require nurturing through conversations, communication, or dialogue, what more our relationship with God? This two-way communication, this give and take is what we call prayer. Prayer is not a monologue. We do not simply rattle off our wish list to God. He is always speaking to us, but we need to learn how to listen to him in the words of Scripture, in the events of our daily lives, in the wisdom and guidance of others. How do we pray? Jesus is the heart of prayer. To learn how to pray, we need only to follow the example of Jesus.
Jesus prayed in the mornings and in the evenings. He prayed in quiet places of solitude. Let us carve out a quiet time and place to pray regularly. Let us begin our mornings in prayer and end in the evening in prayer: “And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35).
Jesus prayed before making any major decisions. He prayed all night before choosing his apostles. We need to spend time in silence and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for all the decisions in our lives.: “Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles” (Luke 6:12-13).
Jesus prayed before meals. Let us always give thanks to the Lord for all his unending provisions: And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
Jesus prayed for his disciples and the whole world. Let us not just pray for our own needs. Let us pray for others–our family members, our communities, our government leaders, our country, our priests, those who are sick and suffering: “Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)
Jesus prayed for his enemies, his persecutors. This is perhaps the most difficult prayer, but it is God’s command to us. We are to pray for our enemies. We should pray for their well-being, for God to bless them, or to forgive them: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Let us live like Jesus. Let us love like Jesus. Let us pray like Jesus.