Pause and Pray
By Victoria Riollano
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. – Luke 6:12
Throughout the Gospels, we find instances of Jesus praying. He prays when he hears of Lazarus’s death. He prays at his baptism. He prays before and during his crucifixion. As one who’s been a Christian for almost two decades, if I’m honest, I’ve read past these moments with little thought. In my mind, I think…
Well, of course he prayed, he’s Jesus.
Yet, today as I read the passage in Luke 6:12 it meant something a little different for me. As I continued reading, I realized that right after this all-night prayer, Jesus made a huge choice that would affect His entire earthly ministry. He chose His 12 apostles.
When daylight came, he called His disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated as apostles. – Luke 6:13
I paused and thought about the fact that Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, prayed. Before making a major decision, Jesus paused and prayed. He, knowing all things, could have just looked amongst the crowd and chosen them. Instead, he took time to pause, reflect, and seek the Father for direction. This is powerful.
How many of us can say we honestly seek the Lord for every decision, big and small?
I must be honest. For years, my background in counseling put me at a deficit in this area. This was my truth. With enough information about a situation, I could make a justifiable plan to “fix” and “resolve” most scenarios. I was trained to do so. In other words, it’s likely that before I prayed, I knew the answer already. I just needed the Lord to back me up with a “yay” or “nay.” This is my very candid, slightly ashamed, need more Jesus, truth. Or at least… it was.
Was I praying to hear from God, or praying just to check a box?
I believe there’s a reason why there are so many mentions of Jesus praying throughout the Gospels. If Jesus prayed for peace, strategy, and confirmation, shouldn’t we seek to do the same? Yet, so many of us, have neglected prayer or see it as an afterthought. I wonder what would happen if we truly prayed to the Lord for everything. What would happen if we sought the Lord and expected that he would answer us?
When we consider Jesus’s commitment to prayer, we are reminded of four crucial things.
1. We must be willing to get alone to pray.
There are several instances where Jesus pulled away from the crowd to pray (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23). Often, we neglect the importance of solitude in our efforts to connect with God. Depending on the person, this may look different. Whether this time comes during a long ride to work or after putting children on the school bus, it’s important that we make an intentional effort to seek the Lord. Let’s make a choice to make our quiet time with Him a priority.
2. Prayer is our way to connect to God.
Prayer is the heartbeat of our Christian journey. The best way to know anyone is to spend time with them. When we seek the Lord, our hearts are set to hear from Him. This is our time to share our need and receive His direction for our life. Without prayer, we may not come to truly know His voice. As we face various trials, we want to be firm in our relationship with Him. Prayer is our tangible way to connect and feel God’s presence.
3. We must pray in expectation.
It’s not enough to pray. We must believe! When we pray, we must have faith that God can answer. We see numerous stories in the Gospel, where the level of belief moved Jesus (Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 5:17-20)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
4. We pray for His will to be done.
One of the most noted prayers of Jesus happens near the end of His life. He prays, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). Recognizing His time on Earth was coming to an end and His death would be a torturous one, He prayed. Interestingly, He didn’t just ask the Father to take away the option, He was open to God’s response. When we pray, we have to follow the same example. We have to be willing to say, Lord even if you answer differently than what I want, I still trust you. Your will be done above all else.
When we choose to have a lifestyle of prayer, we will see Him move in our lives. My prayer for you, is that you don’t neglect the opportunities to talk to Him. Our strength, joy, and direction all come from His presence. If Jesus was willing to pause and pray, we must commit to doing the same.