Adopting the Discipline of Prayer

Whenever I get on YouTube, I always have “recommended videos” that pop up on the home page. As of lately, the videos tend to be that of Will Ferrell’s funniest moments, soccer highlights of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, impossible frisbee tosses, some way of cutting some type of vegetable, and some bow hunting videos. One of the most frequent things that pops up for me are college football or NFL highlights of good wide receivers. Calvin Johnson, Jerry Rice, Tavon Austin, Wes Welker, Mike Wallace, and (my throwback pick which ever football fan should see) Peter Warrick are just a few of them. I would watch tons of videos and learn from these guys. What they would do, I would look to do as well.

My college receiver coach, Keith Williams, helped show me the major importance of learning from others to help develop my craft. Have you ever had a role model that you sought to imitate in every aspect of your life? What are some of the things you have gotten from them? I know some people who would watch how someone ties their shoes and do the same thing. We tend to copy what our role models do so that we might be like them. Our culture flocks to people we look up to. We dress, talk, act, walk, and even eat like our role models. There is a strong attraction to those we follow.

What about our affections for Christ? Do we tend to keep a close eye on what Christ does so that we too can live the way He lived? Have we been enamored by the glory of His goodness that we try to find even the smallest detail of His life to adopt in our own lives? But let’s be real, it’s impossible to live like Christ. That standard is a perfect standard. How many times have we fallen over and over again by trying to pick up a certain discipline? We really do look like a little boy trying to run around in his father’s shoes that are just too big for him. But the grace of God is fully upon those who trust in Christ and certainly this inspires us to keep following Him.

But back to our question: do we peer into the Scriptures with a sharp focus in order to learn about following Jesus Christ? If we have the Spirit of Christ, who is with us till the end of the age (Matthew 28:20), why should we have fear of not conquering this life? Since our God finishes what He starts (Philippians 1:6), we can eagerly look to Christ and model ourselves after Him.

What is one of the things we see our Lord doing most? There is one thing we see Him constantly doing: Praying. “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening He was there alone” (Matthew 14:23). “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). “So Jesus…withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone” (John 6:15). If Jesus Christ prayed so much, what kind of a value does that put on prayer? He who could spend His time in so many ways but decided to spend a major chunk of it praying.

Why is this important to notice? Knowing Christ is eternal life (John 17:3). Following Christ is our call (Matthew 4:19). Living like Christ is our joy (John 15:11). In his book The Secret Key to Heaven: The Vital Importance of Private Prayer, Thomas Brooks says, “They are the happiest who come nearest to [Christ’s] perfect pattern.” It is vitally important to notice what Jesus Christ does so that we might find our ultimate joy and satisfaction in Him.

No telling how many “ways” there are out there to find happiness. No telling what the massive number is for how many times it has been googled. The Bible tells us that the joy of the LORD is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). John 1:4 says that “in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” Life, light, and joy are in Him. “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Therefore, we can come to the conclusion that life, light, and joy can only be found in Him because they only come from Him.

Can we even imagine how great of a God He truly is? We may not be able to totally wrap our minds around such a magnificent Being but we certainly can come to a saving knowledge of Him and we certainly can improve in our knowledge of Him. This is why we pray. We pray to be alone with Him. We pray to call upon Him. We pray to be empowered by Him. We pray to know Him. The soul of prayer is when we empty out our souls in prayer to Him. Thomas Brooks says again, “And indeed, one hour’s communion with God in one’s closet, is to be preferred before the greatest and best company in the world.” The psalmist says, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness (Psalm 84:10).”

Who have you looked to recently to imitate and model your life after? Has that satisfied you the way you thought it would? There is a craving in our souls that will always long for only that which can fill it. Pascal said, “this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” Why did Jesus pray? Why would He spend so much time alone with the Father? He wanted to show us that prayer is how we connect with God. Prayer is being alone with God. Being alone with God is of eternal and infinite worth. When we believe upon Jesus Christ, we can approach the throne boldly and confidently to seek for grace in time of need. What a great thing to adopt in our own lives!