Often times I have pondered “why pray?” Does it really do any good? I mean come on, I do pray a ton by myself, with my bride, with others and yet I still sometimes think “what’s the use?”
Then this week while reading a couple of scenes where Jesus is praying for someone else and then praying for himself have helped solidify the “why” in my prayer life.
The scenes will be familiar with you if you have traipsed around the Book for any length of time. It’s passover week. Jesus and the gang have come into the city to a chorus of “HOSANNA HOSANNA HOSANNA,” victory branches (palm) laid for him and the disciples to walk across-the branches were the red carpet of the day. This particular day finds them ready for the passover meal. So Jesus sends Peter and John off to prepare the room for the meal most will know as the Last Supper. The party of followers enters the room and Jesus in Jesus fashion continues to beLIeVE out “I have come to serve not be served” (Matthew 20:28) as he prepares a bowl and towel to wash the feet of those around the table. It wigs out Peter when peering at the top of Jesus’ head, a head that was bent over in order to wash, Jesus on his knees just about to pour water over the soiled feet of Peter and Peter just can’t help himself and says, “NO Lord.” At that moment, I can’t help but think that the eyes of Jesus looked up into Peter’s and locked in. Locked in to coach up Peter – who was responding in the old “Simon Simon” mentality.
To have been in the room when Jesus stated “one will betray me” and the ones in the room not sure who it would be, it would be a safe bet to think Peter may have been the one, yet Jesus calls out “Simon Simon (Peter), Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.” (Luke 22:32) We aren’t given details on how Peter the rock looked when Jesus spoke these words but as I type I try to place myself at the table and to hear those words. uh Lord did you just say Satan has asked uh who? uh you? Big gulp, heart rate immediately pulsing to explosion levels…how do you respond to this? YOU PRAY, you seek comfort from God, you seek strength from HIM, and that’s just what Jesus did! Take a look:
Luk 22:32 NLT 32 “But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
WOW WOW WOW….ok yeah, I have a few go-to guys when I desire for prayer BUT look who Peter has in the bunker with him…Jesus is pleading….and Jesus is GRACE and He lets our friend, our brother, the one we can “me too” with know “when you repent, when you come back to me, when you change your heart, strengthen your brothers”…..yeah Peter would lock into the eyes of Jesus after the rooster bellowed out for the third time. It was the third denial Peter (Simon Simon) said he’d never deliver….
1st reason why Jesus prays…..to strengthen others….to connect….for nourishment from God
Have time for one more?
The supper is now over, the 12 have become 11 and they head to their place of refuge. It’s the place where Judas for would point out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Before the mob arrives to take Jesus away, Jesus asks the disciples to pray as he goes over to pray. Take a look:
Luk 22:42-44 NLT 42 “‘Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.’ 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.”
Dang! Jesus prays like we do…..when we ask God to remove us from situations, circumstances, areas of life we know we need to, just don’t want to….yet, Jesus, after his seeking, just plain ‘ole speaking out “is there any other way?”….knowing that this was the way to create a way to God forever…..receives….STRENGTH….YES YES YES, that’s it, my/our situation(s) may not change; however, we do receive strength to travel through them!
2nd reason of kazillion benefits to pray?….. receive Strength…from the nourishment, connection in our conversation with God.
Rom 8:26-27 NLT 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.