Eating a slice of chocolate cake every night before bedtime would delight our tastebuds, but this routine would soon supersize our waistlines! For optimal physical health, we must intentionally build healthy habits into our lifestyles.
Likewise, if we want optimal spiritual health, we must intentionally build godly habits into our lifestyles. When Jesus walked on earth, He modeled godly habits for His disciples. These habits included rhythms of prayer. Jesus’ rhythms of prayer maintained His intimate relationship with His Father and guided His everyday decisions.
What prayer rhythms did Jesus model for his disciples?
Jesus had special places where He went to pray.
Jesus had special places where He would regularly draw away to pray. He often prayed in the wilderness, in a garden on the Mount of Olives, or other specific places where the disciples knew to look for Him.
“Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives” (Luke 22:39).
Do you have special places to talk with your Heavenly Father? Perhaps a favorite chair, a chapel, or a park bench.
Jesus intentionally created time to be alone with God.
Jesus intentionally created time to be alone in prayer with His Father. He practiced solitude as a spiritual rhythm. This practice wasn’t easy with large crowds following Him around, but being alone with His Father with no distractions was a fundamental part of His prayer life.
But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (Luke 5:15–16).
Do you spend time alone with God with no distractions? We may need to be creative to find our own solitude in the “wilderness.” Perhaps rising early in the morning before the rest of the household or taking a solo walk on a wooded trail. We can silence our phones to help eliminate distractions.
Jesus prayed when He needed wisdom.
Whenever Jesus needed direction or wisdom, He prayed. The night before He called His twelve disciples to follow Him, the ones who would have an eternal impact on the beginning of His Church, Jesus prayed all night.
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles” (Luke 6:12–13).
Where do you turn when you have a major decision to make? Whenever we need wisdom for a specific situation, God delights to give guidance.
Jesus prayed when His soul was crushed.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew He would be crucified in a matter of hours, one of the cruelest deaths ever devised. He was in such agony of spirit that sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mark 14:32–36).
Jesus identifies not only with our physical pain, but our mental and emotional agony as well. As our Savior showed us, we can cry out to our Heavenly Father when we are grieving or when our soul has been crushed.
How each disciple of Jesus lives out these rhythms will be unique. Some Christians live in the inner city and others on a dairy farm. Some live alone and others with an extended family that includes several small children. But if we mirror Jesus’ prayer rhythms within our own context, whatever that may be, we will deepen our relationship with our Creator and begin to trust His love and direction as we walk in His presence each day.
Are you praying and reading the Bible daily?
If not, a resource that may be helpful is a daily devotional. Courage For Life created our She is Strong and Courageous 90-day devotional, which includes a passage of scripture, two guided prayers, observations, interpretations, and applications steps for each day. You can purchase the full devotional in our bookstore.