It is very important to understand the examples and teachings of Christ concerning prayer. It is also important to understand that prayer is a natural outcome of fellowship with God. In prayer, we exercise our spiritual nature. Prayer is am expression of trust, surrender, and unity with God. In prayer, we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. On the night of the betrayal, and in full view of His death and resurrection and ascension to God's right hand, Jesus told His disciples that prayer was from this day forward to be directed to the Father in the name of the Son, and that prayer offered in that way was sure to be granted (John 16:23-24, 26).
Some examples of Jesus in prayer are recorded as follows:
1. Luke 3:21, 22. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased.
We see the Spirit coming upon Jesus in the form of a dove, equipping Him with great power to perform His ministry. This came after His baptism and prayer. Luke 4:1 says that He as “full of the Holy Ghost” when He departed into the wilderness after His water baptism.
2. Luke 6:12. And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
It is important to see that after spending the entire night in prayer, Jesus chose the twelve apostles, He healed many who wee sick and preached the sermon on the mount (Luke 6: 13 – 49).
3. Luke 9:16. Then He took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitudes.
The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand was preceded by prayer. It points to Jesus as the bread of life and is a convincing demonstration of His power to perform miracles. It is also an example of His compassion for needy people and shows that the little we have becomes much when we put it into the hands of the Lord. Significantly, it showed that He came in unity with the Father through prayer.
4. Luke 9:29. And as He prayer, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.
The teaching on the transfiguration of Jesus was preceded by prayer. The three disciples who accompanied Jesus saw Him as He really was -God in the flesh, in His heavenly glory. He was facing death on the cross; the disciples witnessed His glory as the true Son of God.
5. Luke 22:32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Here we see Jesus praying for Peter as He continually prays for all who “come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrew 7:25). Christ is a faithful God and high priest who cares for and intercedes for our souls.
6. Matthew 27:46. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachiani? That is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Those words mark the climax of the sufferings of Christ on the Cross for our salvation. “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me” testifies that He experienced separation from God as our substitute for sins. But through it all, He understood His mission on earth and would not forsake prayer and communication with God; even as He suffered.
Next we have His general teaching on the subject in parables
1. In Luke 11:5-9 and Luke 18:1-14 Jesus taught us not only how to pray (The Lord’s prayer) but also the importance of prayer and its outcome. He was concerned that we pray continually in order to accomplish the will of God for our lives. This may include persistent prayer where we persevere in prayer with regards to all matters until Jesus returns. Persistent prayer counted as faith. Prayer also protects us from the evil one (Satan, the devil). Lastly, Prayer enables us to cry out against sin and for injustice.
2. Matthew 5:44; Matthew 6:5-8; Matthew 7:7-11; Matthew 9:38; Matthew 17:21; Matthew 18:19; Matthew 21:22; Matthew 24:20; Matthew 26:41. All of these teachings present prayer, not as a simple reviving of the human soul that is followed by accommodating answers, but as the request of a child to a father (Matthew 6:8; Matthew 7:11), subject to the father's will, but secure always of loving attention and response. In teaching us to approach God as our Father, Jesus raised prayer to its highest level, making our fellowship and relationship intimate with God.
It was in a praying atmosphere that the church was born (Acts 1:14; see 2:1)
Throughout its early history prayer continued to be its vital breath and native air (Acts 2:42; Acts 3:1; Acts 6:4, 6 ).
The New Testament Epistles are plentiful in references to prayer. Those of Paul in particular contain frequent allusions to his own personal practice in the matter (Romans 1:9; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:9; 1 Thes. 1:2, etc.), and many exhortations to his readers to develop the praying habit (Romans 12:12; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; 1 Thes. 5:17, etc.).
In its full New Testament meaning, prayer is addressed to God as Father, in the name of Christ as Mediator, and through the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit.