Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Concluding Lesson To Praying with Jesus: Praying For Strength

Hebrews 5:7 "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety."

It is hard to believe that we have reached the tenth and final day of this study on "praying like Jesus". In writing this study I have felt convicted about my own prayer-life, seeing that in comparison to Jesus, I have a long way to go. Having said that, you and I as Christians can praise God for the fact that when we aim to pray like Jesus, Jesus is praying with us and for us. (1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 2:10-14) In our study we have covered nine crucial characteristics of praying like Jesus:

1. Priority & power 

2. Fellowship of prayer
3. Prayer in our decisions
4. Praying for one's enemies
5. Thankfulness
6. Encouraging others to pray
7. Praying for unbelievers
8. Praising God
9. Persisting in prayer

Today's final characteristic of Jesus-like praying is the idea of praying for strength. This particular trait may strike some as the most unusual - being that Jesus was fully God. However the reader must remember that Jesus incarnation meant He also became fully man. His teaching and example of praying for strength serves to instruct us. We read in Luke 18:9-14 And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing some distance away,was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Too often we as Christians pride ourselves in being able to do what we do "by ourselves". Human self-sufficiency is the enemy of moving forward in the Christian life. On the other hand, when you admit to God that you are weak welcomes His supernatural power to intervene in your life. (Romans 8:26-27). 

Notice what Jesus says to Peter in Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus prayed for Peter to have strength - since the flesh and human ability are ineffective in matters of spiritual warfare or growth. Jesus Himself got alone with His Father to be strengthened and He even permitted angels to aid Him in His human life. (Luke 22:43)

Point of Application: If Jesus in His humanity prayed for strength and relied upon the strength of the Heavenly Father, then who are we to deny ourselves the same said privilege? Jesus humbled Himself and in His prayer life He saw dependence upon His Father as the fulcrum by which to accomplish His mission. In closing out this series on "praying like Jesus", may we pray to God for strength to pray like Jesus, so that our prayer-lives can be more like His and be more effective in the coming days.

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