Summary: Encouraging people to sacrifice a little for prayer
Title: Jesus and Prayer
Theme: Encouraging people to sacrifice a little for prayer
Text: Luke 6.12-16
Time: March 6, 2011
[S] “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” (Luke 6.12-16, NIV) [S]
Jesus had a decision to make, one that would have big consequences for his mission, ministry and movement. This decision would not only impact his immediate disciples in Galilee but potentially millions and billions of people around the world.
Jesus was going to select his Vice Presidents and direct reports. Jesus needed lead disciples that would ensure that the proclamation of the good news that God has freed people from their sins through Jesus. He also needed to choose and develop leaders that had what it took to make more disciples who would make more disciples.
[S] Jesus could have made the decision himself. He could have set some criteria and created a list of names of disciples who met that criteria and invited them to become lead disciples or what Luke refers to as Apostles. And no one would have questioned him. But he didn’t do that. Instead, he prayed to God.
I think it’s worth noting that when Jesus prayed to God about this that it wasn’t a short prayer. He didn’t just lift up the concern, say amen, and then go on with his day. Jesus spent all night conversing with the Creator about his lead team. Jesus spent extended time praying to God. And as a result, when the sun came up, he knew who he would call forth and pour himself into.
Think about some of those names and what they put into motion. Andrew, James, John, Matthew, Peter and yes, even Judas Iscariot. Maybe Judas wasn’t even on Jesus’ short list prior to praying. But because of the role he would play in bringing about the worlds salvation, he was on God’s short list.
Look, there is a direct correlation between extended time given to praying to God and Jesus choosing the lead disciples that changed the world, including yours.
When I look at the example of Jesus, Jesus valued praying to God so much so that he spent extended time doing so. Not only did he pray over night, but we know he spent 40 days praying and fasting in the desert wilderness as well as practiced rising early in the morning to go to hillsides for extended praying.
[S] This would probably be as good a time as any to remind followers of Christ that the goal of a disciple is to be just like Jesus. And since Jesus was prayer centered and prayer driven as evidenced by his extended time praying, that means we should be as well.
The Methodist Church from its inception has been such a church. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement [S] believed in praying so much that he actually built a room onto his house just for purpose of praying. It was a small room. All it had was a kneeling stand, a small narrow table and a bible placed on top of it. He often rose at 4AM for prayer and in his later years he was known to spend 8 hours a day praying. I’ve seen a picture of that room. And it doesn’t seem very special. And yet, this is where the Wesleyan revival and Wesley’s ministry was fueled.
Wesley believed that praying was the grandest means of grace. That more than anything else God used prayer to regenerate the heart and renew the mind of the pray-er. And he’s right. I spent a few days in extended prayer not too long ago. And it changed me. I could tell after a few days of praying and reading scripture and other devotional classics that my heart and mind were different. I can’t explain it in much detail, other than to say that God had done a work in my life. A work that I’ve experienced before, but never outside of spending extended time praying to God.
And even though I know this and have experienced this, I don’t know how many times I’ve started each day thinking I don’t have time to pray today there is just too much to do. I’ll just have to handle it and hope that God intervenes when needed. That’s not the right attitude is it? Wesley had it right when he said, “I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.” —John Wesley