Jesus’ Prayer Life Challenges Me
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles (Lk. 6:12-13, ESV).
Did you hear about the shipwreck that left two men stranded on a deserted island? They decided to divide the island into two halves and to seek God for their provision. The first man discovered water on his side of the island while the second man did not. The first guy found fruit trees on his side of the island while the second guy never found any on his side. The first man asked for a wife while the second did not. Another ship wrecked and stranded a woman on the first man’s side of the island while the second man continued to live alone. The first man asked God to be rescued and along came a ship that docked on his side of the island. He took his wife and decided not to invite the second man along on this trip back home.
As the first man started to leave his side of the island, God spoke to him, “Where are you going?” He responded, “Back home.” God said, “What about the other man?” The first man explained to Him, “The second man had no water, fruit or even a woman to take away, he obviously never had any success from his prayers.” But God said, “the second man only prayed one prayer the whole time, he asked me to 'kindly answer all the prayers of the first man'". Often, we consider that God is answering our prayer with blessings. Little do we know that He might just be answering our neighbor’s prayers for us!
Praying was the nature of Christ Jesus while he remained on earth. The above-mentioned prayer happened to take place on the night before he named his apostles. Nobody else joined him on this night as he stayed up to consider the naming of the Twelve. I wonder if he had to convince his Father of his choices? Did he have second thoughts about naming Judas among the Twelve? Jesus was willing to sacrifice sleep in order to get this decision right. Were there other candidates equally qualified, and yet Jesus chose these to continue his ministry of spreading the gospel?
This was a huge decision for Jesus. Was he ready to sign up these men knowing fully that others might feel left out of his inner circle? Were these the men to carry out this mission? Jesus made sure that he was choosing the right men for these positions. Even though they messed up from day-to-day, and although they misunderstood their calling and went into hiding after Jesus died, they were chosen by God with this ministry in mind. Jesus chose the Twelve after pulling an all-nighter to get it right.
Will we bring this type of effort into our decision-making? Are we so willing to set aside time to pray about our plans and projects? Is prayer our go-to as a first-priority or our last resort after exhausting our resources? While in ministry, Billy Graham stated, “A prayer-less Christian is a powerless Christian.” May we find our place to pray to the God of heaven in order to discover spiritual breakthrough in our decisions. Prayer does not lead us to the work of ministry. Prayer is the ministry.
Last Wednesday night at our prayer gathering, I prayed that God would send a sign in the physical realm of his blessing in the spiritual realm. My request was to send rain to water a parched and dry land. We live at 5,000 feet above sea level in a high desert. We average between 6-to-8 inches of precipitation annually. Tonight, as I am wrapping up this devotion AND for the second night in a row, we are getting rain outside. It’s the first rain in a month. Our Daddy is so very good to us. But, wait . . . is this rain in response to my prayer? Or in response to the prayer of my neighbors?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your example of prayer. May you find us coming to you in prayer as we lift our petitions to heaven. Gracious God and King, thank you for your answers to our prayers in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor James Conley
Western Slopes Ministry & Mission Facilitator
First Baptist Church of Delta