Jesus’ life and ministry were characterized by prayer. Why did he pray as he did, and what does that tell us about why we should pray? In this sermon, Meghan Good explores this topic and helps us see the importance of spiritual practices to our life in God.
In this sermon, Meghan Good explores the spiritual discipline of prayer. She begins by talking about the fact that Jesus prayed. At first, this seems weird because we talk about Jesus being God. Why then would he need to pray? However, as we read in Philippians 2, Jesus emptied himself of his divine powers and embraced our human limitations by becoming incarnate. If it is true that Jesus was fully human, then how did he do the incredible things that he did?
The answer is found in the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus after his baptism. The coming of the Holy Spirit opened a connection between the human Jesus and the Father God that released the flow of divine power through him. Cultivating this connection with the Father was a huge part of Jesus’ life. He prayed and fasted for 40 days. He prayed all night before choosing the twelve disciples. Before walking on water, he spent time in solitude. Jesus did not do his ministry by himself. He only did what he did out of relationship with the Father. He states this explicitly in the focus scripture above.
The spiritual practices that Jesus embraced tell us three important things about the role they play in our walk with God.
- They show us what God is doing and saying.
- They align us with what God is doing and saying so that our actions are in sync with God’s actions.
- They protect us from temptation.
Before Jesus went away, he said that he would send the same Spirit that lived in and on him to us. He wants us to live in communion with the Father by the Spirit in the same way that he did. We read this in in John 14:16-17:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him, but you know him, for he lives with you and with be in you.”
The Spirit aims to live in us as a source of open communication with the Father, and, even more, the source of power to continue the works of Jesus in the world (John 14:12). This only occurs as we are dwelling in the life of Jesus as we read in John 15. We are made to be connected to Jesus by the Spirit so that divine power and life will flow through us.
Spiritual practices are not merely the homework of the Christian life. They are the critical infrastructure because they are the way that God’s healing and hope flows through us to the world. They are the hidden system that God’s living water moves through so that the world might hear and see God in everyday life.
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