It had been a full day with a boat ride, afternoon teaching, 5000 men fed (plus women and children). Everyone satisfied. He directed exhausted disciples into the boat to go to Bethsaida, “I’ll meet you there,” he says, and sends the super-sized swarm homeward. He is finally alone. What does he do?
He goes up on the mountainside to pray. This appears odd to me. He is divine. He is equal to God. He works miracles like God. So what does He need? He needs time to talk with His Father.
What would He say to his Father on this day? Reading Jesus’ prayers gives us hints.
- When He speaks to His Father, does He use the model prayer of Matt 6? How does He address The Father? Does He speak of His Father's holiness? Does Jesus ask God for the kingdom “to come”? Does He ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is being done in heaven? Is food requested? Does He plead for his antagonists' forgiveness? Are their requests for temptations to be removed or lessened?
- Was this mountainside prayer parallel to His John 17 prayer? Did He request heavenly glory? Did He pray for His disciples by name, or collectively? Did Jesus pray for you? This day did He pray for unified believers?
- Can we compare this mountainside prayer to Gethsemane's prayer? Was it as intense as in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46)? Did Jesus request His future to be re-arranged, or removed? Did He struggle with submission on the mountainside, as in the garden? Like Gethsemane, was He gearing up for grueling days? Or, unlike Gethsemane, savoring success?
- Did He ask His Father with tenderness and affection? Did he emphasize his closeness to God (“Abba,” similar to 'daddy.' or 'papa')?
Not knowing the prayer leaves me inquisitive. If Jesus, with divinity and intimacy, dedicated time for prayer, should I, a far-less-than-perfect God-seeking human, dedicate time for prayer?
Would you take a moment and share with others a brief description of your prayer life in the comments section below?