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Praying Like Christ
1/12 Reading Portions: Genesis 13; Matthew 12; Nehemiah 2; Acts 12
Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. Nehemiah 2:4
When we read of the power of Jesus Christ as the perfect Man in the gospel accounts, we recognize that He spent much time apart from others to commune with His heavenly Father. We also know that there has been no human, before or since the Lord Jesus, who was as completely committed and supremely submissive as Jesus was to the heavenly Father’s prefect will and good pleasure (John 5:30; 8:28). Jesus was steadfast in prayer privately, yet, He was also spontaneous in prayer publicly. At times, He prayed openly (Matt 14:19; John 11:41-42). Yet, Jesus always lifted up a silent prayer to His heavenly Father before doing or saying anything, just as Nehemiah silently “prayed to the God of heaven” before answering the king (Neh 2:4-5).
Since hearing of the conditions of the wall surrounding God’s holy city, Jerusalem, Nehemiah prayed and fasted for three months, from Chislev (Neh 1:1-4) to Adar (Neh 2:1). He had already been communing in prayer with God. Rather than speaking hastily, however, he prayed again at the moment the opportunity arose, when Artexerses asked a question. Nehemiah did so because, prophetically, this was the spirit and testimony of Jesus Christ (John 5:39; Rev 19:10).
Our prayers should be likewise, as Christ’s were— as Nehemiah’s was. Certainly, we should carve out times purposefully and plenteously in order to commune with the heavenly Father in private prayer. We should also offer short, public prayers for Christ’s exaltation and the Father’s ultimate glory. Moreover, we must also be “instant” (KJV) or “constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12) —like Nehemiah. The employment of all three is what it means for the Christian to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
Prayer is communion with our
Blessed God in heav’n above;
His presence fills our lives with pow’r,
And our hearts with grace and love.
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