Why did Jesus have to pray if He is God?

(Premendra Parsan) #1

Prayer is searching for God’s will for our lives. It a way we can communicate with Him. Jesus was human and also Devine. Being Devine or one with God, He would have known God’s will.
Why did Jesus have to pray?

(SeanO) #2

@Premendra_Parsan Great question! First, I think there is a an even more fundamental question - why do any of us need to pray. Right before the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says that God the Father knows what we need even before we ask. If God already knows, why do we pray?

Matthew 6:7-8 - And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

One way I have heard it said beautifully is that we do not pray to inform God or to impress God, but rather to invite God. James says that God delivers the humble and Romans that the Spirit indwells us as we pray, empowering us to live a holy life and achieving God’s mission in the world. But why did Jesus pray if He is God?

There are a few possible reasons:

As an Example For Us

Jesus modeled prayer for us - even giving us the Lord’s prayer. While on earth He modeled dependence on God and that prayer is more important even than food or rest. God is our source of life and strength and hope and we must remain connected to Him - we must remain connected to God the Father through Christ. Jesus demonstrated this by remaining in visible fellowship with the Father.

In John 11:41-42, Jesus prays before He raises Lazarus from the dead: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Jesus also prayed that we might believe in Him.

Because of His Human Nature

As it says in Philippians 2, Jesus humbled himself and took on the form of a man. Hebrews 2:17 says that “Therefore [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every respect”. Jesus was fully God and fully man. While this is a mystery, it also meant that Christ experienced hunger, thirst, weariness and sorrow just as we do and felt a need to cry out to His Father in Heaven.

As Our High Priest

In John 17, the high priestly prayer - we see Jesus interceding on our behalf. Hebrews says that Jesus is always interceding for us (Heb 7:25). What an encouraging thought!

As the Son Praying to the Father

John 17:24 - Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Here we see Christ the Son has had a relationship with God the Father since before the foundation of the world. God is One and yet Three. This is a mystery, but we see clearly that the Son and the Father have a relationship - the Son talks with and takes council with and praises the Father and the Father has given all authority to the Son. And they invite us into the relationship.

Any thoughts in response? Look forward to hearing what others have to say on this important topic.

(Premendra Parsan) #3

Thanks @SeanO. God is love and through love we have free will. We all would want to choose God’s will for our lives. We find God’s will in the written Word.

However, through our lives there some decisions that may not be clear cut. We then have to eximine our intent.

I understand the connection with God intellectually, how can we connect with God emotionally? Is prayer like therapy secession or a journaling exercise?

(SeanO) #4

@Premendra_Parsan Is your question ‘How do we connect with God emotionally in prayer?’ Please correct me if that is not your question. I will say that I believe it is God’s love for us through Christ that is at the heart of prayer. It is His love that moves us to pray and engages our heart and spirit at the deepest level.

1 John 4:19 - We love because He first loved us.

I am sure you are aware of he common acrostic used for prayer - ACTS. I think it captures well the different faces of prayer.

Adoration - we show thankfulness for God’s love for us and praise His great name!

Confession - we ask God to give us clean hands and a pure heart and cleanse us of sin

Thanksgiving - we thank God for His grace and goodness in our lives

Supplication - we pray for God to show Himself strong in our lives and the lives of those around us - to redeem what has been stolen by the enemy and heal a broken world

But how can we get ACTS from our head to our heart? How can we make it more than just an intellectual exercise and something that truly changes our lives and flows from the deepest part of our soul? I think there are a few angles on this - we must:

Be Indwelt by the Holy Spirit

This first step involves accepting Christ as Lord and Savior and obeying Him. If we have not accepted Jesus, we do not have God’s Spirit. If we are living in sin, we are quenching the Spirit of God and will not experience the power of prayer.

Romans 8:26-27 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Galatians 5:16-22 - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Renew Our Minds

What goes into our minds comes out. If we fill our minds with what is good and beautiful and praiseworthy - with Scripture and worship and good things - that will flow back out of our hearts.

Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Engage Our Hearts

So often when we read the Psalms, we see King David start out not emotionally engaged - or at least not in the right way. He has to preach to his own heart - remind himself of God’s faithfulness and beauty in the past.

Psalms 77:11 - But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

Reading the Psalms is a great way to learn to engage our hearts. You mentioned journaling - I think that is a helpful practice to engage our hearts as well.

Not Stifling Emotions

Sometimes we have learned, for one reason or another, to stifle our emotions in general. It could be to survive some difficult experience or because no one ever showed us how to engage our emotions. I think a Biblical counselor or mentor can help in this process if necessary.

Here are some resources from Tim Keller on prayer as well. May the Spirit of Christ teach you to in this matter!

(Carson Weitnauer) #5

18 posts were split to a new topic: What does it mean that Jesus ‘emptied himself’ in Philippians 2:7?

(Premendra Parsan) #6

@SeanO, thanks. This resource was useful at this point of my journey…

What does it mean that Jesus 'emptied himself' in Philippians 2:7?
(SeanO) #7

@Premendra_Parsan Glad it was helpful! Feel free to ask any follow up questions. The Lord grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation and knowledge of Him.

(Terry Reynolds) #8

Premendra_Parsan, this is a question I pondered quite some time ago. I may be just a little old school here, but I do my best to reason things out so that they become simple in nature. Jesus told us how to pray: “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” It is the Father God to whom we pray. Of course, we commonly end our prayers with some rendition of, “In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.” So, we come to the Father through Jesus (in His name) with our praise and requests. Also, recall the apostle Paul told us the Holy Spirit (who is also God) prays on our behalf. To whom is He praying? Of course, it is to the Father. My answer here is shorter than most, but hopefully it helps you. May you have a most blessed day.