How to Pray Like Jesus
The Bible says, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6 KJV). If we are going to live as Jesus lived, one of the first things we should do is emulate His prayer life. How can we pray like Jesus? Let’s examine a few things concerning Jesus’ prayer life that we can imitate.
Rise early – Mark 1:35. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35 KJV). Jesus put God first and we must also. We need to give Him the first of our day before we do anything else. Jesus rose early in the morning to seek the face of God. If we are to emulate Jesus we also must begin our day with prayer.
Joshua began his day seeking God and as a result won the battle against Jericho (Joshua 3:1 and 5:13-15). We must seek the face of God first thing before the day’s battle begins. Jesus knew this and that’s why He rose early to pray before the day’s battle began. We too must rise early to pray if we are to pray as Jesus prayed.
Find a solitary place – Mark 1:35. Jesus “departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35 KJV). There are times to pray publicly but we need regular time alone with God. Jesus said, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6 KJV). Jesus knew to have quality time with the Father He had to be completely alone where there would be no interruptions or distractions of any kind.
It’s in the solitary place that our relationship with God is developed. I find in the early hours of the morning my time with God is less likely to be interrupted. If we are to pray like Jesus prayed we must have a daily time of solitude where we are not distracted by phones, computers or anything else.
Pray fervently – Hebrews 5:7. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7 KJV). He put His entire self (emotionally, spiritually, and His flesh) into His praying. He prayed until He was exasperated and had to have an angel come to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43).
It’s usually in times of great distress that we pray the most fervently. Jesus was no different. When facing the greatest battle of His life it was said of Him, “And being in agony He was praying very fervently” (Luke 22:44 NASB). The early church emulated this facing threats for preaching the gospel and, “They lifted their voices to God with one accord” (Acts 4:24 NASB). When facing trouble with Peter’s arrest, “Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5 NASB). If we are going to imitate Jesus’ prayer life we must put everything into our praying.
Pray with dependency upon the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:26. “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26 NASB). Jesus always prayed with dependency upon God’s Spirit and we are instructed to do the same. We cannot pray adequately on our own. We desperately need the help of God’s Spirit. For more on this read How to Pray in the Spirit.
Pray in accordance with God’s will – 1 John 5:14-15. Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew the mind and will of God perfectly and always prayed accordingly. If we are to pray like Jesus we must pray according to God’s will. In so doing we can be assured of having our request heard. John wrote, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (1 John 5:14-15 KJV).
The only way we can be sure we are praying in God’s will is to pray the Word of God – His revealed will. We must diligently study the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) to know how to pray in accord with His will. It’s a good practice to find scripture that pertains to your situation and begin praying the Word of God over it. We can never go wrong using the Word — in so doing, we can be assured we are praying as Jesus prayed.
Pray in faith – Mark 11:22-24. Jesus said, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22 KJV). Again He said, “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24 KJV).
Jesus always prayed in faith knowing the Father heard His prayer and that His prayer would be granted. If we are going to pray like Jesus, we too must pray in faith. When we pray according to God’s will (as revealed through His Word) we can pray with faith knowing God desires to answer our prayers. For more on this read Keys to Effective Praying.
See (visualize) God doing the thing you are asking of Him – John 5:19. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19 NASB). Jesus could do nothing but what He saw the Father doing. Before Jesus acted or prayed He saw the Father doing it in the spiritual realm. As a result, it materialized in the natural realm. Even so, we must see God doing the very thing we are asking of Him, which also stimulates our faith.
Pray with persistence. It was said of Jesus that He “prayed the third time, saying the same words” (Matthew 26:44 NKJV). Jesus prayed the same thing multiple times. He was persistent in His praying. We are not to use vain repetition, however, there is a difference between repetition and vain repetition. We can vocalize meaningless words in our prayers and people often do (like the Pharisees). There is also meaningful repetition like Jesus prayed. He prayed persistently the same thing until he had the breakthrough He needed and desired.
We see persistent praying taught and exemplified throughout scripture. Elijah stretched himself out over the widow’s son three times until his life returned to him (1 Kings 17:19-21); Elijah prayed for rain and had his servant look for a sign of rain seven times (1 Kings 18:41-44); The Syrophonician woman kept crying out to Jesus (Mark 7:24-30); Jacob wrestled with God until He blessed him (Gen. 32); A friend asking for bread at midnight (Luke 11:5-10); And the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8).
Let’s lay hold of God in persistent prayer and not let up until we’ve received what we have requested (Isaiah 64:7). In so doing we will be emulating Jesus’ life of prayer.