If the Best needed this--we do too...

If the Best needed this--we do too...

If the Best of the Best Needed to Do This,

maybe we should emulate the practice!

Put the list together, and the names are impressive.

  • Samuel the prophet.
  • Elijah, Elisha and the prophets trained under their watch.
  • Paul the apostle—and of course, the very, very best.

In fact, to call this one the best is sort of like saying that the Pope might be vaguely aware that he has a role to play in the Catholic church…

  • Jesus of Nazareth.

All of them admit to having a deep need—yes, a need. They asked for people to do this with them and for them, and all of them made no bones about the fact that it was needed.

They all practiced this, made it a part of their daily routine, and knew that without it, they were unable to do what was being sent for them to do…

They all needed to pray.

In fact, they needed to pray diligently, consistently, trusting that the praying was effective and empowering.

Think of this: Jesus of Nazareth was having major, significant success when he was engaged in prayer for healing. In fact, as that ministry began, the crowds became so very large, that they were pressing in on him and even stepping on each other. Here is what the gospel tells us about this:

“The report about him spread all the more, and great crowds assembled to listen to him and to be cured of their ailments…” Luke 5:15 NAB

In fact another account tells us how very crowded it was around the Lord:

So many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another… Luke 12:1b NASB

Now, I’ve been a preacher for more than 30 years. Whenever that kind of success happened, and the size of the congregation increased, the first thing to happen was a conversation about adding another service or finding a way to book more space. The ordinary default of the church of our day is to meet needs, and when successful, to grow, and then to add…

Jesus’ response was different…

The next words after those which describe his success in gathering great crowds whose needs were met when they were yearning for healing was to do this…

“But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray…” Luke 5:16 NAB

Ponder this: Jesus would not let the size of the crowd, or the sharpness of the human need distract him from his ministry of prayer… He would withdraw to pray, because to pray was to tap into the very thing that made everything else effective—it would deepen His relationship with God, and sharpen His focus on what God was asking Him to be and to do…

The very finest to ever grace the face of planet earth, well that one made sure to found and ground His ministry of the spectacular in the hidden ministry of prayer.

Jesus prayed, for to pray was to discover the mind of His God—and to receive whatever was needed to get it done. And not just Jesus--but his followers too . So, listen to what Paul says about prayer… In fact, this reading is from a letter he sent to people he had never even met… So strong was his conviction in the necessity and the powerful release that would occur when they prayed:

Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me. That I may be rescued from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints; so that I may come to you in joy by the will of God and find refreshing rest in your company. Romans 15:30-32 NASB

Notice the order in this request for prayer:

  1. He invokes the holiest name he knows—the name of Jesus,
  2. He invokes the deepest emotion in the human race, love, which arises from the Spirit,
  3. He does this to invite those who didn’t even know him to enter into a significant kind of praying—to strive together with him… he has invited them to a struggle in intercession for several reasons:
    1. He believes that the intercession can in fact rescue him from people who are disobedient in the city of Jerusalem (he had almost gotten killed there before this letter was written).
    2. He believes that the prayers of the church in Rome could open the hearts of people to receive him as God’s messenger.
    3. He believes that their praying will pave the way for him to visit them, not out of some whim, but by the will of God, and he believes
    4. That their praying can cause him to experience refreshing and rest among those very people.

Now that’s believing in the power of prayer… it wasn’t boring, or tedious. It was engaging, and profound… it was praying with focus, purpose, and the release of power…

Jesus did that—and do did Paul… Of course, the application is that so must we. It is a principle means of grace to call us into the release of God’s power. Jesus of Nazareth held that view—and that should make this decisive—yet we see this modelled in the early church and written down in the epistles. In this respect, Paul did exactly as Jesus did—he prayed and asked others to join him in it.

This is important then. It is required for us to succeed in entering into any kind of ministry that arises from our Lord himself.

So my prayer partner friends—it’s clear that if Paul asked for prayer, and if Jesus asked for prayer, we should ask for prayer too.

© David Chotka 2021