Luke’s Lord at Prayer

Too often the church and its leadership treat prayer as a matter of secondary concern. Not so Luke in his gospel. He repeatedly introduces prayer in places where it is not mentioned in Mark and Matthew. Note these eight distinctive passages on prayer in Luke:

— only Luke notes that while Jesus was praying at his baptism, the Holy Spirit descended on him (Luke 4:21, 22).

— only Luke notes that Jesus was regularly “slipping away to deserted places and praying” in response to the growing crowds coming to listen to him and be healed (Luke 5:15, 16).

— only Luke reports that Jesus spent all night in prayer before choosing the twelve apostles (Luke 6:12, 13).

— only Luke notes that when Jesus was praying alone the disciples approached him, and he asked the question that evoked Peter’s affirmation that Jesus was “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:18-20).

— only Luke notes that on the occasion of his transfiguration Jesus took three disciples up into the mountain to pray, and while he was praying the appearance of his face was altered (Luke 9:28, 29).

— only Luke indicates that after Jesus finished praying, his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, so he taught them the “Lord’s prayer” (Luke 11:1-4).

— only Luke reports that Jesus ended his Olivet Discourse by admonishing his disciples to always be on their guard, praying that they may have the strength to escape the things that are coming (Luke 21:36).

— only Luke describes Jesus’ prayer-agony in the garden of Gethsemane. An angel came to him, strengthening him as he was praying very fervently, and his sweat was like clots of blood falling on the ground (Luke 22:23, 24).

If Jesus the Son of God felt the need to pray at all the crucial hours of his life, how much more should we commit ourselves to prayer. At the moment of his baptismal consecration, in response to massive crowds, when choosing his disciples, at the time of his identity as “the Christ,” when beginning his final “journey to Jerusalem,” in anticipation of seasons of great trial, when facing the ultimate of personal suffering—all these times led Jesus to a period of concentrated prayer. Should not we also be led constantly to pray? In a striking statement as he faces many challenges, David says (reading the text literally), “I AM PRAYER” (Psa. 109:4). Can that be said of you? Can your most basic essence be summarized by the one word: “PRAYER”?

“Pray Without Ceasing”
1 Thessalonians 5:17