Prayer is hard—prayer that reaches God and produces results, that is.
Jesus Christ was perfect at it.
Throughout His life, He knew that to fulfill His colossal spiritual mission, He needed to maintain perfect contact with the Father. This He did through daily, regular, continual communication.
He prayed for long stretches in isolation, apart from others, when He wouldn’t be disturbed (e.g. Mark 1:35). He also prayed as events were taking place that compelled Him to reach out to His Father (e.g. Matthew 11:25-26; John 11:41-42). He prayed for His disciples (Luke 22:31-32; John 17:9-21). To seek God’s guidance on a weighty decision such as choosing His disciples, or facing grievous trial, He sometimes spent multiple hours or even all night in prayer (Luke 6:12-13; Matthew 26:36-45).
Jesus prayed earnestly, fervently, with deep emotion, at times “with strong crying and tears.” His life, His Father’s plan and humanity depended on it! (Hebrews 5:7). Before His crucifixion, Jesus was in agony when He prayed (Luke 22:44). He wrestled in prayer and threw His whole being into it! He thus remained wholly unified in thought, purpose and spirit with His Father. And His prayer brought results!
Christ’s disciples witnessed His example (e.g. Luke 9:18). They asked Him to teach them to pray as He did (Luke 11:1). He gave them a prayer outline that focuses on praising the Father, entreating for His rule on Earth, interceding unselfishly for His Work and for other people, repenting, and praying for protection (verses 2-4). He taught them to avoid phony, showy prayer and vain repetition, and to instead build a sincere, intimate relationship with the Father (Matthew 6:5-8).
Jesus Christ is our teacher and example (1 Peter 2:21; John 13:14-15; 1 John 2:6). It is His very mind that we are to let be in us (Philippians 2:5). This has particular relevance in our prayer life.
God wants you to pray like Christ. In fact, He wants you to pray with Christ’s mind, in the same spirit He prayed in.
The Apostle Jude wrote, “But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 20; Revised Standard Version). “Praying in the Spirit is not just prayer,” Royal Vision editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet on Jude. “It is life-changing prayer that gets through to God. It gets marvelous results. This is how we keep building that most holy faith. Can you discern if you are praying in the Spirit? This is a vital question that we all need to answer!”
The Apostle Paul admonishes true Christians to be “[p]raying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). If Christ is inspiring your prayers, you will be focused not on yourself but on God the Father, His Family and other people. You will offer persevering, persistent intercessions for others, just as He did.
When you are on your knees talking to God about someone or something, ask yourself how Christ would pray for that individual or situation. Ask God to give you godly perspective, compassion and wisdom so you can pray in more perfect harmony with His will (1 John 5:14). Throughout your prayers, strive to think like Christ. This will help you overcome selfishness, indifference, distractibility and drowsiness, and develop deeper humility, love and godly passion. Moment by moment, work to fill your communication with the mind of Christ!
As you do, the most powerful result from prayer begins to unfold!
Learning how to pray this way helps you grow in God’s love. “Intercession is hard. But what is happening as you learn how to pray this way?” our How to Pray book asks (request your free copy). Meditating deeply on others’ trials and troubles, bringing those before God and trying to beseech God passionately on their behalf in a way consistent with His will changes your thinking. “Can you see how practicing that and learning how to do that is actually building the love of God? It is teaching you to think like God—to become God!”
God is deeply concerned for others and for His Work. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus Christ “ever liveth to make intercession.” There is perhaps no more personal and profound way to learn to think like Christ than to work to emulate Him as an intercessor! Build the daily habit of interceding for others by praying like Christ, and you will be developing the mind of Christ! “If you are driving yourself to give detailed, faithful, fervent, Spirit-led prayers on their behalf, those prayers are the love of God! The more perfect those prayers are, the more they reflect the perfect love of God!” (ibid).
Herbert W. Armstrong taught that God’s supreme creative accomplishment is to create His holy, righteous character in another being—to spiritually reproduce Himself. As we learn to pray like Christ, using the Spirit of God and building the mind of Christ, God is using that tool of prayer to reproduce Himself in you!
Prayer can achieve no greater, more awesome result than that!
The more you bring Jesus Christ’s mind into your prayers, the more God is accomplishing the most powerful result that can possibly come from those prayers: the development of God’s very nature—and the creation of a God being!