Jesus prayed often. The four gospels record dozens of times when Jesus prayed. Prayer was an important part of His life. Yet, Jesus was- and is- God. As God, Jesus had perfect fellowship with God the Father and God the Spirit. Why did He need to pray?
When God the Son became human He willingly set aside His power and glory as God. Jesus remained God but He emptied Himself of the glory of God., so that Jesus was fully human while remaining fully God. As a man, Jesus relied upon God the Father. The mighty miracles that Jesus did, He did by the power of God (Acts 2:22). Jesus prayed because He had willingly made Himself depended on the Father. He acknowledged and confessed that reliance through prayer.
Jesus prayed for the same reason that every Christian ought to pray. He prayed to converse with His Heavenly Father. In the eternity that existed before God created the universe, God the Father, Son and Spirit were in perfect fellowship and unity together. The Trinity shares a level of intimacy unlike anything humanity has experienced. The Bible tells us little about the fellowship between the three persons of the Trinity or how that relationship was affected by God the Son becoming man. But the incarnation changed that relationship. Jesus prayed because in prayer He had fellowship with God. Jesus prayed because He delighted in conversing with His Father. Jesus’ prayer was no mere duty or religious ritual. It was the expression of a loving relationship between Son and Father.
Jesus prayed for the benefit of His disciples, for others who heard Him pray and for ourselves. He prayed that we might believe He is the Savior. This is especially evident in John 12 when Jesus said, “I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” Jesus’ prayers show a concern for the bystanders response to His prayer. He prayed that others may profit from hearing Him pray.
Jesus’ active prayer life is an example to us to pray. Christians are to become more like Christ , to be growing in imitation of Him. Christ’s life of prayer shows us how to pray. He specifically taught how to pray. He commanded perseverance in prayer. But He did not just teach, He modeled prayer for us. He showed Christians how to pray in deep distress, in success and in disappointment. He prayed early in the morning, late at night, at meals and before major decisions. Jesus prayed often and in doing so showed us how to pray.
Prayer was a vital part of Jesus’ life and ministry. He prayed in times of anguish. He prayed for rest and refreshment. He prayed before major events and miracles. He prayed for His disciples, for future believers and for unbelievers. He prayed for God’s glory and for God’s will. He prayed without ceasing. If God the Son prayed always, why don’t we?