The Prayer Life of Jesus

Bible Book: Luke  11 : 1-13
Subject: Prayer Partners; Prayer; Jesus Praying
[Editor's Note: This message was a call for church members to take part in an annual plan at a church I pastored 25 years ago. The ministry involved members committing to pray with a partner in person once a week for one year, for each member to pray daily alone, and for each person to join in special prayer for people and issues during the year. The partners were to be of the same gender, unrelated, and church members. This ministry was a tremedous blessings and involved hundreds of people in a powerful prayer partnership.]

The Prayer Life of Jesus

Dr. J. Mike Minnix

We are a praying church and that is one reason the Lord has blessed our fellowship so richly in growth and ministry. The spiritual growth, the mission expansion, the numerical growth, and the number of people saved every year is God’s work and it is enlarged because we call upon Him faithfully as the people of God. We come today to our time to renew our commitment to the Prayer Partner Ministry. Listen carefully today – not to me, but to the Holy Spirit, as you are called upon to join this incredible ministry within our church fellowship.

Our desire today is not to investigate the entirety of the prayer life of Jesus, because such a task would take a sermon series of some length; rather, I want us to concentrate upon the influence Jesus' prayer life had upon His disciples and the way He taught them to pray.

Turn to Luke 11:1-13 and note a familiar and inspiring passage on the subject of prayer.

The disciples were amazed at the prayer life of Jesus and they asked Him to teach them how to pray as He prayed. Jesus did not scold His disciples for seeking to “learn” how to pray, but immediately gave them a lesson in supplication. Some people are ashamed to admit that they do not know how to pray. If Jesus' disciples, who walked with Him daily, needed to be taught the manner and method of proper praying, surely you and I have much to learn as well.

There are needs which only prayer can meet.

There are problems only prayer can prevent.

There are hurts only prayer can cease.

There are battles only prayer can win.

There are atmospheres only prayer can create.

There are souls that only prayer can reach.

The disciples knew these facts and longed to tap into the resource which they saw at full disposal in the prayer life of Jesus. When Jesus prayed, He touched heaven. The disciples saw that the Lord laid hold of the Father and they wanted so much to be able to pray in that manner. Don’t you desire that? If you are truly saved, you no doubt have a desire for a better, stronger, and deeper prayer life. Just as the disciples sought the Lord for an improved prayer life, let us do the same today.

What did Jesus teach them out of His own prayer life? This passage reveals to us some very important lessons.

I. The Impact of His Prayer Life

A. The Consistency of it brought Conviction

Have you ever heard someone pray and felt a conviction that you need to be more consistent and fruitful in prayer? Have you heard someone pray and wondered if you really put the effort into prayer that you should? I’m sure you have. I know, because I have done so. Can you imagine what it was like to hear Jesus pray? To see Him before the Father in Heaven, and to hear His words … what conviction it brought to the disciples. They wanted to have help in being better at praying. No, not just in the words they said in prayer but in the heart they presented in prayer. To pray faithfully, we need a conviction that prayer is serious business and that we must deal with it seriously!

B. The Character of it brought Conversation

We not only need to pray, but we need to pray correctly. A little boy about five years of age was asked to pray the blessing before a family meal. The family bowed to pray but the little fellow was silent. The mother said, "Son, are you going to pray?" The boy was silent. The family finally looked up to see if the lad was okay. The father asked, "Well, son, aren't you going to pray?" The little boy said, "Dad, if I tell God, 'Thank you for the broccoli,' don't you think He will know that I am lying?" Smart kid! Much smarter than many adults, who pray words they don't mean to impress God or others. God knows our hearts. That is why we must pray sincerely from the heart. Today I want us to look at the seriousness of praying correctly.

The prayer life of Jesus was not just much prayer, but powerful and correct prayer. In Matthew 19:13 it is said that people brought their children to Jesus and the disciples were about to turn them away. Jesus stopped the disciples from blocking the parents and children from coming to Him.. Do you know why the people were bringing their children to Jesus? It says they were bringing them so that Jesus would touch them and PRAY FOR THEM. Don’t miss that. We sometimes picture Jesus just touching the little ones and welcoming them, but note that the parents wanted Jesus to pray for them. They knew that prayer, offered properly, makes a real difference in one's life and future.

Mark 1:35 states that Jesus rose up a great while before day and went out to pray. The disciples had seen Jesus rise before the sunrise to talk to the Heavenly Father. Maybe they were sleepy and rolled over to snooze a bit longer, but then they heard the Savior walking away into the morning mist to talk to the Father. They must have wondered what they were lacking, since they did not have that same urgency to pray.

Luke 3 records the baptism of Jesus. You will recall that the Spirit descended as a dove and came upon Him. The Father spoke and said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Do you know what Jesus was doing before His baptism, the coming of the Spirit, and the words of the Heavenly Father? The Bible states that he was praying for 40 days.

Luke 5 records that Jesus was ministering to many people and they were coming to Him in great numbers but that He withdrew from the crowd into the wilderness to pray. This must have startled the disciples to see Him withdraw from such amazing success among the people to be alone with the Father. Most people who are being used by God before great crowds tend to stay before the crowds. Yet, Jesus went out from the throng of people to be alone with the Father because He knew that without prayer He had no power to offer the people. Yes, in His flesh, Jesus needed the Father to grant Him power that did not exist in flesh alone. If He needed that, how much more do we need that?

Luke 6 states that the night before He designated the twelve as Apostles, He spent the night in prayer on a mountain. He would not make such a decision without the Father's guidance. The disciples were aware of this prayer life of Jesus. Do you and I pray that way before we make decisions in our work, life, and family? No wonder so many of our decisions turn out to be wrong.

Is it any wonder that the disciples were caught up in amazing nature of our Lord’s prayer life? Luke notes in passage after passage that a key ingredient in the life of our Lord was prayer. The communication that Jesus had with the Father in Heaven prompts all of us who are serious in our faith to take a discerning look at our own prayer life, or the lack thereof.

II. The Ingredients in His Prayer Life

A. The Relationship in His Prayer Life
1. The Father

One must have a relationship with the Father through the new birth and spiritual adoption in order to pray. The object of prayer is God, so we begin at the point of establishing a relationship with the Heavenly Father. You must be in the family of God in order to pray to the Father in the family.

Are you in the family of God? Not everyone is in God's family, despite what some people say. For example, Jesus told a group of people one day in John 8:44 that they were of their father, the devil. You must look closely at this entire passage, because you will note that the people Jesus spoke those words to were religious people. You can be religious and not be in God's family. In essence there are some who are not of the family of God. The question is, to which family do you belong?

In essence, we are all born into this world in sin. We are sinners by birth and by choice. Sin separates us from God, and the only way to change that situation is to heed God’s call and come to Jesus Christ. We must turn from our sin and trust Jesus as Lord and Savior. When that happens, we are born into the family of God. We literally change families. We move from being a member of the devil’s family to being part of God’s family through what the Bible calls the new birth (John 3).

The only way to have God as your father is to be born into His family. I am the son of J.C. Minnix because I was born into his family. Another biblical illustration is that we are adopted into the family of God. If I had not been born biologically into the family of J.C. Minnix, he could have adopted me into his family and given his name and approval. In such a case, I would have been just as much a part of the family as if I were born into it. God births you into His family and He adopts you into the kingdom - a kind of double salvation and assurance. If you cannot pray, it might just be that you have never experienced the new birth, and if that is the case you need to come to the Lord today through repentance from sin and faith in the work He did for you on the cross and through His resurrection.

2. The Family

Prayer takes place in a relationship with a holy family. Note that in the prayer known as the Lord's prayer Jesus prayed, "Our Father." Jesus was teaching the disciples that they could pray as He prayed. You may not be able to preach like Paul or sing like an angel, but you can pray with as much power as any other believer when you are in the family and are willing to come to God in the proper manner.

Elijah was a man of passions like yours and mine, yet he could pray down fire, shut up heaven, cause a drought, and then pray till it brought about a deluge. It is not perfect people who pray great prayers, rather it is imperfect saved people who connect to God through a perfect Savior and see mighty things take place.

3. The Focus

Prayer takes us into the realm of a higher focus. "Our Father, who art in Heaven." Prayer is not only designed to get God down here to us, but it is more importantly designed to lift us up there to Him.

I got to know Dr. Forrest Fezzor a few years before he went home to the Lord. He was an incredible man of God with a booming voice and bright spirit. He prayed once at a Gardner Webb University football game by saying something like this: "Now close your eyes. Imagine yourself on a journey with me. Imagine yourself rising up above this great stadium. See yourself rising up through the atmosphere. Now you are passing by the clouds and still rising. Even the eagles flying are below you as you keep rising higher and higher. You are going faster now, whizzing by the stars in the heavens. What do you see there beyond you? It is the great gate of heaven opening up to let you in. Come with me now and let us sweep down the golden street. Can you see it? Another door is opening before you and you are coming to bow before the mighty throne of God. There upon the golden throne is seated the Lord of glory. Now, imagine yourself getting on your knees before the Lord." Then, he started to pray. Somehow his great voice and sincere spirit of prayer made the listener seem to join him in the great throne room of the God. The reason some of us cannot pray is that we never get above where we are at the moment. Jesus was teaching the disciples that in prayer we journey all the way up to where the Father is seated in glory. Our souls must soar up to the throne of grace. “Our Father, who art in heaven!" That is where we go in prayer.

Jesus is Lord, period. He is Lord whether you think He is or not. He is Lord, no matter what this world says about Him. The great question is, ‘Is He Lord of your life?’ True praying ground is found when we resign to self and exalt the Savior. Jesus said that He always did what pleased the Father. No wonder the Father said of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

B. The Reliance in His Prayer Life

This reliance is not meant to be a type of foxhole religion which only cries out to God when one is in trouble. It is a daily dependence upon the Father in Heaven and we see that fully in the Lord’s Prayer.

A little boy was asked by the preacher if he prayed every night before going to sleep. The boy replied that he did. Then the preacher asked the boy if he prayed each morning when he woke for the day. The little fellow said, "No, I don't pray in the morning, ‘cause I ain't scared in the day time!" The mature child of God prays, not because of fear but because of love and a relationship of daily dependence on the Heavenly Father.

What needs do we take to God's throne in prayer?

1. Bodily needs

God cares about your body, your need for food, and your pain and sickness. He loves you so much that even the hairs of your head are numbered.

I once heard the story of a family who invited the preacher to their home for dinner. They all sat down to eat and the family just dove into the food without even a moment taken for a prayer of thanks. The father in the family realized what had happened and said, “Preacher, I guess you noticed that we didn’t pray for the meal?” The preacher admitted that he had observed that. The father in the family said, “Well, preacher, when we buy groceries each week, we bring them home, place them on the counter and pray over them. We thank God that He allowed us to buy them. That way, we don’t have to pray each time we eat.” Is that a joke? Probably! But, sadly there are many people who think nothing of taking all that God gives for our bodily needs without so much as a thank you each day.

In fact, did you notice exactly what Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer? He prayed, "Give US our daily bread." Jesus was not just praying to thank God for food, He was praying ahead of time for God to provide. Indeed, He was not just praying for His own food, but also for others. He prayed, “Give US,” not just, “Give me.”

2. Soul needs

Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray for forgiveness and to learn how to provide forgiveness to others who may have harmed them in some way. We must take seriously the idea of forgiving others that we may be forgiven. Just be assured that your soul needs to pray, for praying keeps you in tune with God and when it comes to forgiveness.

3. Spirit needs

The inner person has needs. “Lead us not into temptation.” Jesus prayed for deliverance from the evil one. What a victory, to be delivered from temptation. Temptation is a inside job, but God can hepl us with secret issues. It would be great to be so innocent that you were not even tempted, but temptation will come. Temptation is not sin, but it can lead to sin. Jesus knew that the human need is to be delivered from the hour of temptation by the power of the Father.

III. The Illustration from His Prayer Life

Jesus told the story of a man who came to get bread from a neighbor because a visitor had arrived who needed food. The needy man continued to knock so that the neighbor finally rose from the bed and gave the man what he requested. Jesus taught that we are to keep on praying with faith and trust in the love and goodness of the Father and not to grow weary when we don't see an immediate answer.

Is God irritated with our continuing requests? The fact is that God appreciates a praying faith that does not give up. Some Christian groups speak of "worrying" or "troubling" the Lord in prayer. By that they mean to keep on keeping on when it comes to praying. God loves importunity. God loves to be bothered with your prayers.

i. In this story we have a Needy man who desires bread.
ii. In this story we have a Believing man who finds bread.
iii. In this story we have a Mighty man who gives bread.

Where a need exists, and where a believer offers consistent, faith-filled prayer, our Lord is mighty enough and loving enough to answer.

A little girl asked for something which her parents did not give her. When it came time to pray one night with her mother and father, the little girl bowed her head and prayed saying, “Please, God, don't give my parents any more children, they don't know how to treat the one they've got!"

You can be sure of this – God knows how to treat His children. He does not forget you and never closes His ears to your requests.

A. Confidence

We can trust God to hear and answer us. He will answer our cry to Him, if we pray to Him with confidence, persistence, and with faith.

We ought to be like the little girl who was upstairs getting ready to pray. She called out to her family, "Okay, I'm fixing to pray, anybody want anything?" Now that’s confidence! Of course, praying is not just getting something from God. In fact, prayer is more about making us to be who we are to be in Christ than just getting something from Him. But, confident faith is required when we pray, no matter what the content of the prayer.

B. Compassion

In regard to the prayer in our text we must note that the request was made by one person for another person. There was a compassion that led the man to go to his neighbor to gain bread for a hungry visitor. That is the way Jesus prayed. In the New Testament we note that Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw the multitudes as sheep without a shepherd. He told His disciples on one occasion to lift up their eyes and look on the fields that weere white unto harvest; then he added that they should pray for the Heavenly Father to thrust out laborers into the harvest. Jesus was teaching us as His disciples to keep our eyes open to the needs of others and to faithfully offer prayer for them.

We must pray for others. You need only read the morning paper, watch the news, or read the stories on the internet to see the brokenness of society, the suffering of people everywhere, and the sorrow in hearts all around us.

I'm sure that sometimes you hear the sirens of an ambulance or firetruck in the distance. When I hear them, I pray immediately for the person or people who are in need of help. Often when watching a ball game or other gathering of people on television, I wonder how many of them need Jesus, and I seek to pray for God to save the lost among them and to comfort the saved.

Of course, we know many people on a personal basis that are suffering and going through trials, and they need our prayers. God desires that we pray for others, just as our Lord did when He was on this earth.

C. Consistency

Prayer is spiritual warfare that requires steadfastness and determination. Daniel prayed twenty-one days and on the first day of his prayer God sent the answer through an angel, but the angel was detained in a spiritual battle with the enemy of God and Daniel. If Daniel had stopped praying, the answer likely would never have arrived. But, Daniel kept praying for three full weeks. He did not give up and he obtained his answer.

Do you think you have missed some answers from God because you either didn’t pray about them or you gave up too soon? It is likely that most, if not all of us, have done just that. If we expect God to be consistent in answering prayer, we must be consistent in offering prayer.


Our time is limited, so let me bring this message to a close. The prayer ministry of our church is awesome and we must keep it that way. I am asking today that as many of you who are willing join in the Partnership Prayer Ministry. When you do so, you simply make a commitment to have a prayer time every day for the next year and also to choose a partner and agree to pray in person with that individual at least once a week for the next fifty-two weeks. You and your partner hold each other accountable in prayer and Christian living over these weeks. This ministry is making a difference in our lives, our families, our community, and our entire church.

Someone here today needs to pray the most significant prayer of your life. You need to ask Jesus to come into your heart. You can't prayer till you know the One to whom you pray. So call upon the Lord to save you just now. Simply turn from your sin through repentance, believe that Jesus died for you and rose to give you eternal life, and commit your life to Him today during this invitation.