Prayer is vital - without it we can never progress spiritually. It is the means by which we can bring to God that which He will understand, whether we are close or whether we have become distant. Therefore, in our desire to be near to Him we must speak in earnest genuine prayer. Let us think about some of the prayers of the Lord Jesus in order to learn from the words of those who wrote the Gospels.
The Lord Jesus was a man of prayer. In the first chapter of Mark He called Simon, Andrew, James and John to serve Him (1.16-20), and healed many. In the morning, in the last watch of the night, from 3am to 6am, He departed into a "solitary place, and there prayed" (v.35). The previous day was one that could not be forgotten following the work of the Lord (vv.21-34). The lesson is clear to see: the example of morning prayer is vital, even when occasion and circumstance allow less prayer time than we would desire.
In Luke 6.12 it is recorded that "he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God". The lesson is that when there are important spiritual issues to consider it is necessary to pray. We may not be able to pray all night, as did the Lord, but the prayer must be genuine. When it was day, and thus the time of prayer was over, the disciples were called by the Lord and twelve were chosen. Even Judas Iscariot was among the twelve.
In Matthew 14.22-23 the Lord Jesus had been dealing with five thousand men together with woman and children. After the crowd had been fed the Lord Jesus "constrained his disciples to get into a ship and to go before him to the other side". He also sent away the great crowd and then "went up into a mountain apart to pray". Once again the Lord is alone as He prays, no doubt to speak in Heaven regarding those who had been ill and yet cured (v.14).
In Luke 11.1 we read of the Lord that "he was praying in a certain place". Prayer attracted the disciples, one of whom asked, "Lord, teach us to pray" - a vital question. In that prayer we see devotion: "Our father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name"; desire: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth"; dependence: "Give us day by day our daily bread".
In the four Gospel records one cannot fail to consider the night when the Lord Jesus took the disciples to Gethsemane where He would be arrested and taken for trial. Judas Iscariot had gone. Eleven disciples had come with the Lord and eight of them were told, "Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder" (Mt 26.36). Three of them, Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, He took to follow Him. Three times He went further in order to pray and on the three occasions they were asleep when He returned. On the third instance, after He prayed, Judas Iscariot came with "a great multitude" (Mt 26.47) in order to take the Lord Jesus. His declaration to them was, "Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me?" (Mt 26.55). When, on the day following, He was crucified the Lord yet continued to pray: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Lk 23.34). This was the call that was heard at Calvary.
Prayer, therefore, was clearly a feature of the life of the Lord Jesus as seen in Luke 3.21 in that, when it was time for Him to be baptised by John, "praying, the heaven was opened" (Lk 3.21).
Let us all seek to keep prayer as a vital part of the day as it brings us nearer to the One who died at Calvary and rose again.