Summary: When you think of prayer do you think of those public prayers that people make. Do you compare yourself with those who give wonderful lengthy prayers? The importance should not be put on your public prayer life.
The Life of Private Prayer
CH (CPT) Keith J. Andrews
All Scripture Marked ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
When you think of prayer do you think of those public prayers that people make. Do you compare yourself with those who give wonderful lengthy prayers? The importance should not be put on your public prayer life.
But Matthew 6:6 says
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Mt 6:6, ESV)
We as Christians need to have a private but consistent prayer life.
A prayer life that is daily. A prayer life that is personal. A prayer life that is meaningful. And a prayer life that builds your personal relationship with Christ.
The best example of this prayer life, a private prayer life, was Jesus himself.
This morning, we are going to look at some of the attributes of Jesus’ prayer life and use His example to see how we can develop a model of our own.
We see first that:
1. Jesus prayed on the mountain.
We see in Matthew 14:23 that;
23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, (Mt 14:23, ESV)
Then in Luke 6:12
…he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. (Lk 6:12, ESV)
I learned much about prayer by spending time at Ridgecrest, NC. Ridgecrest is a Baptist Conference Center and Spiritual Retreat in the mountains of North Carolina. It is a place where I’ve spent much time in prayer and Bible study.
I have spent so much time there that I can go on those grounds and tell you my life story. But the most important thing about Ridgecrest is that it has always been a place for me to meet God. It is a place that I can go to get away from what ever is going on around me, what ever distract me, or whatever troubles me.
I am able to focus on what God is saying to me. So I understand what it means to slip away to the hills--to go to a mountain and pray.
Do I think that you can only meet God on a mountain? No, but I do believe that specific places are places in which we can meet God.
I remember having prayer times when I was at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Many times, on the weekends, I would go hiking. Once, I went camping for that reason, just to pray. We go to a specific place, and as the verse says, we get alone with God. And when we get alone we meet God.
Another place that
2. Jesus prayed was in the garden.
Matthew 26:36 says;
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” (Mt 26:36, ESV)
This was the place of Jesus’ most heart wrenching prayers. This is the most preached on and the most remembered place that Jesus prayed.
He prayed in the garden. He prayed for his disciples. He prayed for himself. And he prayed that God’s will would be done.
Several years ago, I went up to Ridgecrest to attend a groundbreaking ceremony of a building that now is on top of a familiar prayer garden at Ridgecrest.
It was sad to know that the “Prayer Garden” would be destroyed. But it was exciting to see the growth and the potential of this dear place.
The night before however, I was able to go and to spend some time in that prayer garden one last time.
I thought about how I had prayed through the years, right there. And I really don’t think there was a prayer that remains unanswered.
The garden was made up of Rhododendron and mountain laurel.
The focal point of the garden was a spring, called Johnson spring. And from there ran a small stream that flowed through the garden.
There was a bridge that looks almost like a covered porch deck that was built over this small stream.
It is here that I prayed about the Army. I prayed for Monica, before I knew her. I prayed about seminary. I prayed about college. I think, I prayed about everything in that spot.
I think I understand this passage about Jesus praying in a garden.
One translation of this passage calls it an olive grove. And I can see the olive trees growing all around the garden.
There may have been a spring, and stream flowing through, with a bridge.
Jesus went to the garden. A place of seclusion. A place of peacefulness. A place where he could focus on what God had to say to him.