One of the things in the life of Jesus Christ during his earthly life is his constant fellowship with God in prayer an example that he has shown for us to emulate. At one time Luke 6:12 has recorded him having taken the entire night in prayer, this was just a moment before he selected the twelve to be his disciples, people he may train in his three years course for the Great Commission.
There are many incidences in which Jesus prayed in the Gospel of Luke alone from which we have a great deal to learn. Today, I want to use this post to share with you moments at which Jesus prayed in the Gospel of Luke, which sets a pattern for us his followers to follow and equally learn from. One thing that I must mention is that Jesus, was not only man but God, yet because he lived as a man, he had to pray; this means that all of us who are mankind even have to pray, and pray much more than he did.
Through prayer we receive empowerment from God
In Luke 3:21-22, Jesus went to the river side where John the Baptist his forerunner was baptizing. He also went into the water to be baptized as the scripture records: “One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (Luke 3:21-22 NLT). Here we see that after Jesus was baptized, he raised his head in prayer and the Holy Spirit descended on him right when he was in prayer.
This is a time when Jesus’ ministry was just about to begin. So, it is a very opportune time that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus Christ. This does not necessarily mean that the Holy Spirit could descend on Jesus only if he was praying at his baptism. But one thing that is true is that we read the Holy Spirit descended right as he was praying. I believe the Holy Spirit can descend on one even if he is not in prayer, but also in various portions of the book of Acts where we witness that the Holy Spirit descends on people while in prayer.
The very day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples while in the upper room was when they were praying. So I have all reasons to say that when we pray, we are filled by the Holy Spirit and through him, we are empowered because the Spirit is the Spirit of power. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit descends on the disciples, they will receive power (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus through his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, he empowered him to overcome the temptations the devil brought him and also empowered him for the ministry which he soon started after the 40 days in the wilderness.
As Christians, we need the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to live our Christian life, we need the Holy Spirit to empower us to be witnesses for Jesus Christ our Lord, we need the holy Spirit to empower us in making decisions; we need the Holy Spirit in all of our lives. We are like plants that needs to bear fruit, as plants can but only bear fruits if well supplied with water and minerals; we can also but only bear fruit when full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us produce this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT).
I ask you my dear beloved in the Lord, to live a prayerful life as did Jesus as to be full of the Holy Spirit and bear fruit for him and him alone.
Through prayer, we can make wise decisions
The next time we see Jesus pray is in Luke 6:12-16, I have already alluded part of this verses in the beginning. For sure we don’t know what Jesus was praying about in his all night prayer, Luke didn’t record that for us. But we can try to imagine what probably the burden in his heart was in prayer. Soon after his prayers, we see Jesus choosing the twelve as his disciples. By this time, a multitude of men and women were following Jesus and he had not particular focus on a particular group. It seems Jesus had a strategy and knew how short his ministry would last. He also needed people who can be with him much of the time, people he can do ministry with and people who will later after him continue the ministry.
To select the twelve men from among several is not very easy humanly, it needs God’s guidance. Jesse only had seven sons but it was not easy for Samuel to choose one for the King of Israel. He was looking at their physique but God told him that he sees the heart, until a man after God’s own heart – Jesse’s youngest son was brought in and then anointed king. Earlier, I mentioned that Jesus is not only a man but also God, he knows all us. He didn’t need anyone tell him about Nathanael, Philips brother. He had already known him and saw him even when he was not within his physical eyes could see. It seems that Jesus could easily read at the hearts of the men following him and just choose the twelve.
Again I have to mention that it must not be assumed that only and only Jesus was seeking God to show him the persons he can select on his list of the twelve. Rather, Jesus, being in the Godhead, and God being three in One always worked in Unity. In the beginning, God [the Father] created the world by his Word [Jesus Christ – the Son] as the Spirit [Holy Spirit] hovered over the waters. (Genesis 1:1-3). Here we see all the persons of the Godhead working together in Unity. Again, in the first example which I have given about Jesus praying after his baptism, as he [God the Son] was in the water praying, the dove identified as the Holy Spirit descended on him as the Father’s voice spoke from heaven. Once again, the three are seen in Unity.
I am not arguing for the Trinity in this page, but I am simply saying that for Jesus to select his twelve men, he needed the fellowship of the persons of the Godhead and he did that by having an all-night prayer. He therefore chose the twelve after engaging in prayer. As a result, it was a very perfect team that he has chosen, including the one who would betray him such that the scripture can be fulfilled.
How do you personally engage God when you have a decision to make? Jesus prayed all night prior to selecting his twelve men. The disciples prayed to replace Judas Iscariot the traitor who was one of them. I always pray that God helps me make wise choices whenever I am faced with one to make. Every day comes presenting us a moment to make Choices. I think as humans, we need the immortal in making decisions and choices, we need God who knows everything to help us make right decisions, we need the Holy Spirit whom Jesus said will guide us in all truth, so in prayer, ask him to guide you in making right decisions.
Are you about to make decisions? I ask you to lift up your eyes in prayer unto him who is able to guide you in making that decision. Are you faced with a moment where you must choose from two or more options? In prayer, seek God, seek Christ, seek the Holy Spirit who searches all things to lead you in choosing the right option. Someone prayed: “Dear Lord, lead me to make choices that bring You glory and allow me to experience the life You intend for me to live.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
I try to make good decisions. I desire to make good decisions. However, sometimes I am weak, I slip, I fail, I am unwise. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. I am forever grateful. I pray for Your wisdom to guide me and that I can make good decisions for me, my marriage and my family. I also pray that You would anoint my husband so that he would also make good decisions, especially as he leads our family. I pray as we are faced with decisions together we can encourage each other to make good decisions based off of Your words and ways in Jesus’ name.
Note: Do not miss part two of this message coming soon here at New Dawn Ministries
This message is written by Rev. Julius Izza Tabi who is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is currently a candidate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway. For pastoral assistance you can email him or check how you can reach him here.