Jesus Prayed

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles…” – Luke 6:12-13

I am humbled by this verse. Jesus had a big decision to make and he prayed before making it. Two chapters earlier, Jesus went out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and to prepare for that encounter, he fasted 40 days. Jesus knew that in all things he had to totally rely on God in order to have success. So before he selected the 12, Jesus prayed. On one hand, Jesus is the Son of God who would presumably already know who the 12 would be prior to praying about it. On the other hand, Jesus is the Son of Man, who identifies with us through coming in flesh and blood, fully dependent on God in all things. Luke doesn’t tell us why he prayed but it humbles me that Jesus often prayed before big decisions and big events (Luke 3:21, 5:16, 9:18, 9:28-29, 22:40-46). Too often I am inclined to “go it alone” and make a decision without spending enough time in prayer. Jesus reminds us that many things require prayer if they are going to take place…if we have faith in Christ, we will take his teaching and example seriously enough to spend more time in prayer…even if we think we already know the answer.


About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

8 Responses to Jesus Prayed

  1. Nick Gill says:

    I tend to take a stronger read of Php 2 — that is, I think that one of the things He “emptied himself” of in showing that equality with God was not something to be clung to was his foreknowledge of such things.

    • Nick Gill says:

      That being said, his dependence on prayer challenges me even more, because all too often I’m willing to go by my gut or my surface read of situations and people.

      • mattdabbs says:

        “Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?” – Luke 5:22

        That is the one that stands out the most to me. The context is healing and forgiving the paralyzed man. I guess that could be an expression for read their nonverbals and made an educated guess at what they were thinking but I would take the verse in a more literal sense. If Jesus can forgive sins, why stumble over whether or not he can tell what someone is thinking?

      • mattdabbs says:

        Just looked at Luke 5:22 in Greek and I it certainly leaves the door open for it to be more overt than inner thinking. BDAG has for the word translated by the NIV as “think” as “consider”, “reason”, or “ponder”. It is entirely possible they were “considering” this in an outloud fashion and it says Jesus knew what they were considering/pondering/reasoning…not necessarily just inner thoughts. You could well be right.

      • Nick Gill says:

        I was listening to Ray Vander Laan Monday, talking about that very instance.

        The question we have to ask ourselves is, “How subtle would the non-verbals actually be that Jesus would be seeing, in a situation where he just committed (by the understanding of the scribes and Pharisees) shameless blasphemy?”

        Also, check your Greek there — I’m not sure that “thinking within themselves” is the best translation. “Dialogizomai” doesn’t carry the assumption of silence, like we often read that passage. I think it could just as literally, and without taking anything away from Jesus’ power, “The scribes and Pharisees began to reason back and forth, saying… and Jesus, knowing their way of thinking, answered them, saying…”

      • mattdabbs says:

        Beat you there by about 15 seconds 🙂

    • mattdabbs says:

      That is entirely possible and plausible. There were times he knew the thoughts of others…which is not a normal human activity.

      • Nick Gill says:

        I’m not convinced that any of those are necessarily “he read their minds” kinds of situations, though. When the “sinful woman” is anointing his feet in Simon’s house, for example, I don’t think it took a mind-reader to know what Simon was thinking. Likewise the crowds in John 2.

        My understanding of Jesus and his faith in God was irrevocably altered by The Divine Conspiracy, and Willard’s foundational assumption that Jesus was the most intelligent person who ever lived. Given that even I can know what someone is thinking every once in a while, what could someone with the keenest and purest understanding of human nature know?

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