WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 16, 2021
TOPIC: BE LIKE JESUS IN PRAYER
BY T. O. BANSO
“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:16 New Living Translation).
The writer of the hymn “I want to be like Jesus”, A. K. Miller, says in the first stanza:
I want to be like Jesus
So lowly and so meek;
For no one marked an angry word,
That ever heard Him speak.
I want to be like Jesus,
God’s well-beloved Son;
I want to be like Jesus,
The pure and holy One.
The second stanza, which captures our message today, goes thus:
I want to be like Jesus,
So frequently in prayer;
Alone upon the mountain top,
He met His Father there [Refrain].
A source gives 1883 as the publication date of this hymn and Frank M. Davis as the composer. It’s an old but powerful hymn, especially in the Sunday School. We used to sing it a lot when I was a child. But the message was not for children alone. Not only children should aspire to be like Jesus. Everyone should. I’m not sure if the hymn is being sung today as frequently as in the past. I pray that being like Jesus will remain the passionate cry of our hearts and our goal.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example for humanity in all things, including forgiveness, prayer, humility, obedience, and thanksgiving. We should seek to be like Him. And one of the areas to emulate Jesus is in prayers, both private and public.
No matter how busy He was, Jesus would, after some time, slip away to observe some quiet time with God in prayer. A time to be alone with God, a time to separate from others, and spend time with God alone in prayer is crucial to your life as a disciple of Jesus.
The time for private prayer could be for some minutes, hours, or days on a retreat. Cultivate intimacy with God in private prayer; maintain silence before Him. “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20 New King James Version). Present your requests to God in private prayer.
During Jesus’ ministry, He spent time alone with God. This is recorded in Mark 1:12-13, 35; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; 11:1). In Matthew 14:13, the Bible says Jesus departed to a deserted place by Himself and in John 6:15 says he departed again to the mountain by Himself alone. Apparently, He went to pray as His custom was.
In Matthew 17:1-2, Jesus went with Peter, James, and John to the Mount of Transfiguration. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was alone with God in prayer. He moved away from the disciples He took along (Matthew 26:36-46).
Emulate Jesus. Don’t be a stranger to the presence of God. “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2 New King James Version).
Hear the words of Jesus: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:6 New King James Version). Verse 18 also repeats the phrase that your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Moreover, in addition to private prayer, Jesus prayed publicly and thanked God. Jesus prayed in public but not to show off like the Pharisees (Matthew 6:5; Luke 18:9-14). Jesus didn’t pray an exhibitionistic type of prayer but for divine interventions. He didn’t condemn praying in public but praying to get people’s attention.
At His baptism, He prayed and heaven opened (Luke 3:21). At the tomb of Lazarus, He gave thanks and prayed; Lazarus came out of the grave alive (John 11:40-44). At the feeding of 4,000 men, He gave thanks (Matthew 15:36). Similarly, before feeding the 5000, He blessed the loaves of bread and two fishes.
At the Last Supper, He gave thanks before giving the disciples the cup to drink (Matthew 26:27) and before breaking bread (Luke 22:19). Furthermore, at His crucifixion, publicly, Jesus prayed before He died (Luke 23:34).
Scriptures show that with the exception of the high priestly prayer of Jesus which covers an entire chapter in the Bible, John 17, Jesus’ prayers in public were usually brief. Apparently, this was because He had spent much time with God in private prayer.
Paul writes, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere…” (1Timothy 2:8 New King James Version). Luke 18:1 says men ought to pray and not lose heart. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says we should pray without ceasing. So many other scriptures, including Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; and Psalms 69:30; 95:1-2; 147:7, talk about praying and/or giving thanks to God.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (New King James Version). The less you pray, the more you worry. The converse is also true. Pray with thanksgiving.
Devote time to private and public prayers. Don’t forsake praying with other saints in public but avoid praying to get people’s attention. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (New Living Translation). The last stanza of the hymn “I want to be like Jesus” says:
Alas! I’m not like Jesus,
As anyone may see;
Thy gentle Spirit, Savior, send,
And make me like to Thee [Refrain]
Help me Holy Spirit. We must be like Jesus in prayer and in everything. Never stop praying and giving thanks to God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive my prayerlessness. Holy Spirit, help me to pray always and not to faint. Holy Spirit, the Bible says You help us in our distress or infirmity, for we don’t even know what we should pray for or how we should pray but the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words (Romans 8:26). Help me, Holy Spirit, to pray as I ought to. I shall not fail in my prayer duty in Jesus’ name.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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