When the Incarnate Son of God lived on earth he did really pray. That is a fairly obvious thing to say, but it does require to be said because the chances are that we do not take sufficiently seriously the fact that Christ did pray when he was on earth.

Christ showed us how to pray by praying. It was when he was “praying in a certain place” that one of the Twelve said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). The request leaped to the lips when one day the disciples, with hushed and awed hearts, actually watched the Son of God at prayer. Looking at Christ praying they suddenly realized what prayer was. If that was prayer they had not yet started to pray.

Christ’s Prayers Intensely Real

It requires to be emphasized again and again that our Lord’s prayers were real prayers; as real and intense as any ever uttered. It may be true that the majority of references to Christ’s prayer life concern intercessory prayer; but he did pray for himself, both in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39) and in the high-priestly prayer in the fourth Gospel (John 17). And therefore we may well be justified in assuming that during those many sleepless nights, far away from the haunts of men, when he communed with the Father in prayer, the Son would recuperate his strength for the task of redeeming a fallen world, and would make his task, and his needs on his human side, the subject of prayer. We should remember that the Son of God found that the best preparation for a long hard day of demanding work was entering into fellowship with the Father in prayer, there beholding the Father’s glory with no veil between except the thin veil of his true humanity.

There are some 17 references to Christ’s active prayer life, ...

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