In numerous places in the Gospels, we see Jesus drawing aside by Himself to pray. Here are some of the primary passages that emphasize this truth, along with the contexts in which the emphases appear.
In Mark 1:35-37, Mark wrote, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Simon and his companions went searching for Him. They found Him and said, ‘Everyone’s looking for You!’” Jesus then directed that He and His disciples would go throughout Galilee, where He would preach. He preached in the Galilean synagogues, and cast out demons as well (see vv. 38-39).
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Luke recorded that Jesus had healed a man of a serious skin disease. He told the man to keep quiet about what had happened to him and to go and show himself to the priest, as the law of Moses directed (see Luke 5:12-14). Then Luke said this: “But the news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed” (vv. 15-16).
In Luke 6:12-13 we read these words: “During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came. He summoned His disciples, and He chose 12 of them—He also named them apostles.”
Matthew 14:23 tells us, “After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone” (also see Mark 6:46). The crowds He dismissed consisted of the 5,000 men plus the women and children He had fed with 5 loaves and 2 fish (see Matt. 14:13-22). Immediately following His prayer time, Jesus walked on the water to His disciples, who were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee (see vv. 24-33).
Luke 9:18 states, “While He was praying in private and His disciples were with Him, He asked them, ‘Who do the crowds say that I am?’” In the conversation that followed, Peter confessed that Jesus was God’s Messiah. After directing His disciples to share this with no one, Jesus told them about His upcoming suffering, death, and resurrection. Then He spoke of the cost of being His disciple (see vv. 19-25).
Jesus “was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1). Jesus then presented the Model Prayer (see vv. 2-4).
Jesus also prayed at His baptism (see Luke 3:21-22). He prayed at His transfiguration (see Luke 9:28-31). He prayed when He welcomed children into His presence and blessed them (see Matt. 19:13-15). He prayed for Peter, that his faith would not fail (see Luke 22:31-32). He prayed repeatedly in the garden of Gethsemane prior to being executed by crucifixion the following day (see Matt. 26:36-46). In addition, Jesus prayed—and prays—for us (John 14:15-16; 17:1-26, esp. v. 20; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:23-25).
How does Jesus’ prayer life inform and affect your own?