13.1.3 Jesus prays

The gospel of Luke relates that Jesus prayed especially before decisive events:

  • before the Holy Spirit descended upon Him (Luke 3: 21-22);

  • before He chose the twelve Apostles (Luke 6: 12);

  • before designating Peter as the rock upon which He would build His church (Luke 9: 18-21; in connection with Matthew 16: 13-20);

  • before the Father transfigured Him in the presence of the witnesses from here and the beyond (Luke 9: 28-36);

  • before His bitter suffering began (Luke 22: 41-46);

  • before He died on the cross (Luke 23: 46).

The gospels attest the rich prayer life of Jesus: He would often withdraw into seclusion in order to enter into a dialogue with His Father (Matthew 14: 23; Mark 1: 35). He praised Him (Matthew 11: 25-27) and He thanked Him, even before His prayer had been granted (John 11: 41-42).

John 17 records the Lord's intercessory prayer. His intercession for the Apostles and the church–"I do not pray for these alone [the Apostles], but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one" (John 17: 20-21)–demonstrates how Jesus Christ approached His heavenly Father as an advocate on their behalf (1 John 2: 1).

Jesus prayed before His suffering. He knelt down and humbly bowed to the will of His Father: "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." This prayer was a struggle of the soul. God did not allow this supplication to go unanswered: an angel appeared and strengthened Jesus (Luke 22: 41-44). Even as Jesus hung on the cross, He prayed for His tormentors (Luke 23: 34). His last words before death were likewise a prayer: "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit" (Luke 23: 46).

See also