Prayer: Jesus and Prayer

JESUS PRAYS…

Matthew 11:20-30
Woe on Unrepentant Cities
20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21″Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.[4] If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

Rest for the Weary

25At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
27″All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28″Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

DO YOU THINK THAT THE PRAYER OF JESUS IN THIS CONTEXT IS RELEVANT TO HIS STATEMENTS ABOUT THE UNREPENTANT CITIES?

JESUS PRAISES HIS FATHER FOR THINGS HIDDEN FROM THE “WISE AND LEARNED”. WHAT THINGS ARE HIDDEN YET REVEALED TO LITTLE CHILDREN?

DOES JESUS MEAN LITERALLY “LITTLE CHILDREN”?

WHAT IS JESUS EXPRESSING IN THIS PRAYER TO HIS FATHER?
Praise, adoration

John 11:38-44
Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

38Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39″Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
41So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

WHAT IS THE OBJECT OF JESUS’ PRAYER?

WHAT IS JESUS EXPRESSING IN THIS PRAYER? Thanksgiving

PERSONAL DISCOVERY
Thanking the Lord for having heard me.

TV frequently portrays subjects of a kingdom thanking the king for his
granting an audience and for having taken the time for their requests to be heard.
EXERPTS FROM COMMENTARY

Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

QUESTION: WHAT DOES “FAITH” HAVE TO DO WITH PRAYERS BEING ANSWERED?

The messengers had reported that Jesus said this illness is for God’s glory (v. 4), and when Jesus met with Martha he presented himself to her as the object of faith…Jesus does not say that his ability to raise Lazarus is dependent on her faith. Rather, seeing God’s glory depends upon her faith. Since she does indeed benefit from this sign it seems that her faith, defective as it may be, is nevertheless sufficient at this stage in God’s eyes for her to see his glory…

Here is the most powerful sign of Jesus’ power and authority, but it does not point to him except as evidence that he is doing what he sees the Father doing. He is here to glorify God, not himself.

This dependency upon the Father is further emphasized in Jesus’ prayer. Indeed, prayer itself is the form of speech that directly corresponds to the most significant thing about Jesus–his relationship with God, his Father.

INSIGHT: OUR DEPENDENCY UPON THE FATHER IS EMPHASIZED IN OUR PRAYER LIFE.

Each part of this prayer reveals something about that relationship…

He looked up, or, more literally, he “lifted up his eyes”: a gesture of looking away from self and toward God.
a word of intimacy, Father, the main title for God in this Gospel. Indeed, for Christians, God is now known primarily as the Father of Jesus. Our language for God as Father has its source in Jesus’ own revelation of God. It is his relationship with God that a Christian enters into and thus comes to know God as Jesus knows him, within the limitations of human nature.
God listens to the prayers of the righteous: We do not hear an actual petition but rather Jesus’ thanksgiving that the Father heard him (v. 41). The communication between the Father and the Son regarding Lazarus had taken place much earlier, since he already announced what would take place when the messengers arrived with the news (v. 4). We here see the Son as subordinate to the Father, bringing a request to the Father. But far more is involved, for he goes on to say, I knew that you always hear me (v. 42). The clear teaching of the Old Testament is that God listens to the righteous, not the unrighteous, except for prayers of repentance (see note on 9:31).
Jesus is claiming to be righteous before God and in unbroken fellowship with him. He knows he is heard; he has utter confidence in this relationship. Jesus lives in constant prayer and communication with his Father.

QUESTION: DO YOU THINK THAT YOU LIVE IN CONSTANT PRAYER AND COMMUNICATION WITH GOD IN THE SAME WAY AS JESUS? DO YOU THINK THAT IT’S POSSIBLE?

• When he engages in vocal prayer, he is not entering, as we do, from a state of non-praying into prayer. … He emerges from non-vocal to vocal prayer here in order to show that the power he needs . . . for the raising of Lazarus . . . depends on the gift of God.
• He vocalizes his prayer for the sake of the crowd: I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me (v. 42). In other words, it is not enough for people to be impressed with Jesus. They must believe in him as the one sent from God. It is precisely because Jesus is sent from God and does as God directs him that he is heard by God.

Jesus is not a wonder-worker who is able to get God to do what he wants him to do.

QUESTION:

  • WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE TV PREACHERS IN GENERAL?
  • WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE DO THAT ACCURATELY AND TRUTHFULLY CHARACTERIZE GOD, PRAYER, ANSWERED PRAYER?
  • WHAT CAN BE SAID OF THE MANNER OF TEACHING BY THESE PEOPLE THAT COULD NOT BE SAID OF JESUS?
  • WHAT KIND OF SHOW MIGHT YOU EXPECT IF A TV-PREACHER RAISED SOMEONE FROM THE DEAD?

In saying the purpose of this prayer is that they might believe, Jesus is acting with divine graciousness and mercy. Such belief brings eternal life…The miracle reveals Jesus as the life-giver sent from the Father, and one receives life from him as one has faith in him.


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