From whom better to learn the New Testament method of the power of positive praying than the One seated at the right hand of the Father? Here are ten things to get us started.
1. Jesus prayed in secret. “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there” (Matt. 14:23 NKJV).
The physical closet of prayer, as the closet of the heart, is imperative to a healthy prayer life. Prayer must become habitual. “To pray without ceasing” in every place is a constant attitude of the divine presence. But there is no substitute for the habitual practice of prayer in the secret place.
2. He prayed before eating. “And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down and likewise of the fishes, as much as they would” (John 6:11 NKJV).
Discipline in “returning thanks” is basic training for the really big battles.
3. He prayed before the important events of His life. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him’” (John 17:1–2 NKJV).
Of greatest importance is that which glorifies the Father and reconciles men and women unto Him.
4. He prayed in times of great popularity. “Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, ‘This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:14–15 NKJV).
Do our successes drive us more to dependency on Him, or less?
5. He prayed in times of rejection. “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me’” (Matt. 26:36–38 NKJV).
Jesus needed His friends in His night of darkest sorrow as we need Him in ours.
6. He prayed submissively. “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’” (Matt. 26:39 NKJV).
“Not my will, but Thine” are our most important words in prayer.
7. He prayed earnestly. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44 NKJV).
Shallow words move not the heart of God. The depth of soul behind our words stirs the heart of God.
8. He prayed for His enemies. “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ And they divided His garments and cast lots” (Luke 23:34 NKJV).
Loving those who don’t love us may well be the ultimate validation of our faith.
9. He never allowed a busy schedule to keep Him from prayer. “However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:15–16 NKJV).
Is our problem too little time to pray, or too little desire? If we will, we can always find time to pray.
10. 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 KJV).
“Those that seek me early shall find me.” (Prov. 8:17 KJV)
Following His example, you will find the sweetness of the early hours to be the best. When He is first in your day, you will be first in His. Jesus was our model and teacher in prayer. By His life and His lips our Lord’s constant fellowship with the Father pointed to the necessity of ours. If He must pray, how much more must we, and that with all our hearts.
Jesus didn’t pray merely as an example to us. For thirty-three years, He lived as a man, tempted in all points like as are we. He prayed because He had to pray. He prayed because He must. If the Son of God prioritized prayer, how much more must we? And His prayers were answered as will be ours, if like Him we pray in His will, in His Word, and in faith.
For that’s the power of positive praying.
John R. Bisagno, The Power of Positive Praying (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2015).