Summary: Do you ever feel guilty about not spending enough time in prayer? Me too. But did you realize the Bible never told us how LONG we should pray? Instead it teaches us HOW to pray.
OPEN: There’s a favorite Christian song from years ago called “I walked today where Jesus walked” and it goes like this:
“I walked today where Jesus walked, in days of long ago.
I wandered down each path He knew, with reverent step and slow.
Those little lanes, they have not changed. A sweet peace fills the air.
I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there. “
It’s a beautiful song that tells of visiting Bethlehem, the Hills of Galilee, the Mount of Olives, the Mighty Jordan and ultimately speaks of climbing the Hill of Calvary – “where on the Cross He died”.
It’s a beautiful song, and it’s been heard by 1000s of believers.
But 1000s more have actually had the privilege of going to the Promised Land.
To actually see the places where Jesus walked.
Now, most of the time, those are guided tours, where folks get onto huge tour buses and are driven down the road to visit various holy sites where Jesus would have been.
But, a few years ago, someone put together a 40 mile hiking path called the “Jesus trail”. Travelers can hire a guide, download GPS coordinates from Jesustrail.com or pick up trail maps at tourist sites.
The path is meant to be hiked in four days.
You can start off the trail in Nazareth, and sleep in the town where Jesus lived in as a boy. And as you hike the trail you can stay at occasional guest houses or you can carry tents with you and camp out along the path.
Tour Buses only stop at the known holy sites, but this path lets you actually see the flowers, and sense the feel of the land as you walk for 4 days … “where Jesus walked.”
Now wouldn’t that be cool?
Wouldn’t you love to be able to experience that trail?
I’d love to try it.
But that’s just tourism.
That’s just sight-seeing.
Year ago, I went to visit St. Louis and I loved visiting the various sites there. But I didn’t really get to feel what it was like to live in that city. I was just a tourist. I didn’t really walk where people who lived there walked.
If you and I really want to walk as Jesus walked we need to learn to live like Jesus lived. And one of the most prominent parts of Jesus’ life was His prayer life.
One scholar read through the book of Matthew and he focused on the top 10 topics Jesus taught . Coming in at number 9 was prayer (46 verses)
(James E. Smith, “The Restoration Herald”)
Someone else did a study all 4 of the Gospels and found that there were 17 different times when we’re told that Jesus prayed. They found that:
• He prayed early in the morning, late at night, all through the night.
• He prayed at the beginning of His ministry. (Luke 3:21-22)
• He prayed before He chose His 12 disciples. (Luke 6:12-13)
• He prayed before healing the crowds. (Mark 1:35)
• He prayed before He fed the 5,000. ( Mark 6:41)
• He prayed before bringing Lazarus back to life . . . ( John 11:41-43)
• Jesus prayed before His Transfiguration . . .( Luke 9:28-29)
• Jesus prayed at the Mount of Olives before being betrayed . . . (Luke 22:39-42)
• And He prayed while He was on the cross . . . (Luke 23:34)
And Romans 8:38 tells us that Jesus is STILL praying!!!
Jesus is now “at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
You see, if we want to walk today where Jesus walked you and I need to learn to kneel as Jesus knelt. One of the verses of that song I shared at the beginning of the sermons said:
“I knelt today where Jesus knelt, where all alone he prayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane, my heart felt unafraid.”
Now many folks have a problem when it comes to a preacher getting up and preaching on prayer. The reason it’s a problem is that it is a “guilt” thing. They feel guilty because they don’t feel like they pray enough throughout the week.
Have you ever felt guilty about that?
One man once asked: I wonder why we don't sing, "Sweet minute of Prayer" as opposed to “sweet hour of Prayer” because we only seem to pray a few minutes each day.:
A lot of good Christians beat themselves up over the they don’t spend as much time as they’d like in prayer.
Now, I don’t think the problem is the amount of time we spend in prayer.
I think the problem is that many Christians see prayer as an obligation.
They see it as something they HAVE to do.