How to Pray Like Jesus
Every Christian should desire to be more like Jesus. One of the most effective ways to be more like Him is to emulate His prayer life. “He that says he abides in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2:6). “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1 ).
Jesus’ Pattern of Prayer
- He prayed early in the morning. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus put the Father first, rising early in the morning to spend time with Him and so must we. We must give Him the first of our day before we do anything else. Jesus rose early in the morning to seek the face of God.
If we are to emulate Jesus we also must begin our day with prayer. Joshua began his day seeking God and as a result won the battle against Jericho (Joshua 3:1 and 5:13-15). We must seek the face of God first thing before the day’s battle begins. Jesus knew this and that’s why He rose early to pray before the day’s battle began. We too must rise early to pray following Jesus’ example.
- He prayed in a solitary place. Jesus “departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). There are times to pray publicly, but we need regular times alone with God as well. Jesus said, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6).
Jesus knew to have quality time with the Father He had to be completely alone where there would be no interruptions or distractions. It’s in the solitary place that our relationship with God is developed. I find in the early hours of the morning my time with God is less likely to be interrupted. If we are to pray like Jesus prayed, we must have a daily time of solitude where we are not distracted by phones, computers or anything else.
- He prayed fervently. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7). He put His entire self (emotionally, spiritually, mentally and His flesh) into His praying. He prayed until He was exhausted and had to have an angel come to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). It’s usually in times of great distress that we pray the most fervently.
Jesus was no different.When facing the greatest battle of His life it was said of Him, “And being in agony He was prayed the more fervently” (Luke 22:44). The early church emulated this facing threats for preaching the gospel, “They lifted their voices to God with one accord” (Acts 4:24). When facing trouble with Peter’s arrest, “Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God” (Acts 12:5). If we are going to imitate Jesus’ prayer life we must put everything we have into our praying.
- Jesus prayed with dependency upon the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Jesus always prayed with complete dependency upon God’s Spirit and we are instructed to do the same. We cannot pray adequately on our own. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We too must pray with complete dependency upon the Spirit of God. See How to Pray in the Spirit
- He prayed in accordance with God’s will. Jesus, being God in the flesh, knew the mind and will of God perfectly and always prayed accordingly. If we are to pray like Jesus we must pray according to God’s will. In so doing we are assured of having our request heard. “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:14-15).
The only way we can be sure we are praying in God’s will is to pray the Word of God – His revealed will. We must diligently study the Word of God to know how to pray in accord with His will (2 Timothy 2:15). It’s a good practice to find scripture that pertains to your situation and begin praying the Word of God over it. We can never go wrong using the Word — in so doing, we can be assured we are praying as Jesus prayed.
- He prayed in faith. Jesus said, “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22-24).
Jesus always prayed in faith, knowing God heard and would grant His request. When we pray according to God’s will (as revealed through His Word) we can pray with faith knowing God desires to answer our prayers. We are to put God in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26) and we can come into agreement with the Word of God in prayer (Matthew 18:19), knowing He magnifies His Word above His name (Psalm 138:2).
- He visualized God answering His prayer. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). Before Jesus acted or prayed He visualized the Father doing it in the spiritual realm. As a result, it materialized in the natural realm. Likewise, we must see God doing the very thing we are asking of Him, which also stimulates our faith.
- Jesus prayed with persistence. It was said of Jesus that He “prayed the third time, saying the same words” (Matthew 26:44). Jesus prayed the same thing multiple times. He was persistent in His praying. We are not to use vain repetition, however, there is a difference between repetition and vain repetition. We can vocalize meaningless words in our prayers and people often do (like the Pharisees). There is also meaningful repetition like Jesus prayed. He prayed persistently the same thing until He had the breakthrough He needed and desired.
We see persistent praying taught and exemplified throughout scripture. Elijah stretched himself out over the widow’s son three times until his life returned to him (1 Kings 17:19-21); Elijah prayed for rain and had his servant look for a sign of rain seven times (1 Kings 18:41-44); The Syrophonician woman kept crying out to Jesus (Mark 7:24-30); Jacob wrestled with God until He blessed him (Genesis 32); A friend asking for bread at midnight (Luke 11:5-10); And the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8).
Let’s lay hold of God in persistent prayer and not let anything deter us until we’ve received what we are requesting of God (Isaiah 64:7). In so doing, we will be emulating Jesus’ prayer life.