When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 NIV) Notice the unusual things that happened when Jesus prayed: heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove, and a voice spoke from heaven. What if this is not an abnormal picture of what happens when believers pray, but is an unusual glimpse into what is the normal practice of prayer? Then it may not be that Jesus was somehow special and different from us in ways that are not open to imitation, rather maybe Jesus was showing us what can happen when we are committed to prayer!
When Jesus was praying on the mount of transfiguration, he was visited by Moses and Elijah. These men were pioneer servants of God ushering in new eras of Law and Prophecy and they knew what it meant to suffer for being prayerful and faithful. Their conversation and presence with Jesus had to do with his approaching “departure” which he would bring to fulfillment in
When the disciples woke up (and sleep seems to be a major barrier to prayer!) they
were amazed at what was happening. This was the most amazing thing they had
ever seen. They wanted to “sanctify” the moment, but Jesus wanted them to
sanctify the practice! Jerusalem
Of all the recorded pray times of Jesus, the
was by far the most intense
for him. It was also the most difficult because the presence he experienced was
not his Father or the Holy Spirit, but merely an angel. In place of a booming
voice from heaven, there was only silence! Yet Jesus prayed himself to a state
of willing obedience. garden of Gethsemane
Jesus’ prayer life was one of the most striking things about him, and the source of power for his life and ministry. When Jesus prayed there was spiritual presence: The Holy Spirit as a dove, Moses and Elijah, an angel strengthening him. When Jesus prayed there was an increase in spiritual power. When Jesus prayed there was a deepened commitment to spiritual purpose. Prayer, for Jesus, seemed to always clear his vision and renew his focus!
Prayer is the place where the space between heaven and earth becomes very “thin.” It is always accessible to us – though usually without visual or audible confirmation. When we learn to close the gap between heaven and earth through our prayers, we will discover that the gap narrows in our lives as well.
- Kenny Payne