Make Up Your Mind to Pray
Even Jesus understood the necessity of communicating with the Father. He knew that before He could be any earthly good, He had to connect to His heavenly Father in prayer. We can learn five keys to effective prayer from following Jesus’ prayer life:
- Make time to pray.
- Have a place of prayer.
- Pray out loud.
- Pray for people by name.
- Pray with others.
First of all, we’ve got to make time to pray. Mark 1:35 says, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” We are all busy. We could easily allow our lives to be consumed by work, sports, extracurricular activities . . . even church! Yet, unless we take time to seek God and spend time in prayer and worship with Him, everything we do will be sub-par. We must make time to pray. It may mean getting up early, going to bed late, or cutting your lunch break short—but we’ve got to make time!
Secondly, have a place. Jesus’ place was typically somewhere he could pull away and be alone. The Garden of Gethsemane, in the wilderness, on a mountain. It doesn’t have to be the same place every time or it can be. Your prayer place may be a recliner chair in your home! You can turn that chair into a prayer place and God will meet you there. It can be a room, a track where you go and run, or a park where you like to walk. Find a place of prayer. I’m telling you, these are the essentials from Jesus’ prayer life that He shows us by example.
The next important thing we learn from Jesus’ prayer life is He prayed out loud. Matthew 26:39, “And when He had gone a little further, He fell on His face and He prayed, saying . . . ” It doesn’t say He prayed thinking, or meditating. It says, “He “prayed saying, ‘Lord . . .’” Of course there is a time and place for silent prayers. But you must also incorporate praying out loud on a regular basis. It changes the very atmosphere! There is power in confessing and calling on the name of Jesus verbally with your voice.
Jesus’ prayers were specific. He prayed for His people by their name. Jesus said to Simon in Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.” He prayed for a specific person with a specific need. As you pray for your children, call their name out loud. Pray for your spouse and speak his or her name out loud! If you know the need of a friend or co-worker, call their name in prayer! When you speak their name, all of a sudden, there is a strength and a power and a grace that covers them.
Finally, the Bible tells us Jesus prayed alone, but it also points out over and over again that He prayed with others. In Luke 9, He took Peter, James and John and went to the mountain to pray. One can chase a thousand and two can put ten thousand to flight! How powerful that we can pray together. Matthew 18:18-20 says, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
When we band together in prayer, He gets right in the middle! He’ll come in any situation, any office, any home, any school or any hospital room.
We’ve got to make prayer a priority. We must make up our mind and do whatever it takes to build a prayer life. If it was important for Jesus, how much more vital it is for us!