Prayer and Friendship
What things do we currently give our attention to?
- The war in Ukraine?
- Rising inflation and its effect in our lives?
- Work, family, or life problems and troubles?
These things create anxiety and stress in our lives that make it even more difficult for us to focus on the way of Jesus.
What would change about these things if we began to think and live by the priorities and values of Jesus?
Jesus focused much of his energy around prayer and friendship with a few. As followers of his, we will find rich blessings if we do the same.
Jesus and Prayer
Prayer was very important to Jesus. The gospels often record Jesus praying. Luke gives this special emphasis in his gospel and records Jesus praying at least nine times. Since Luke contains 24 chapters, there is a reference to Jesus praying in over one-third of Luke’s chapters, making this a very important theme in Jesus’ life.
But why portray Jesus at prayer so much? Why not just indicate that prayer was important to him?
If we delve deeper, we see when Jesus prayed and what he prayed for. Specifically, Jesus prayed both as a habit and at important times in his life. Prayer was a fundamental aspect and example of Jesus’ spirituality. These scriptures indicate to us Jesus’ habit of prayer–5:16; 6:12; 9:18; 10:21; 11:1–while these scriptures describe Jesus’ prayers at critical moments of his life and ministry–3:21 (at his baptism); 6:12–13 (prior to selecting his twelve apostles); 9:29 (at the transfiguration); 10:21 (as a response to the success of the 72); 22:39–46 (in the garden of Gethsemane); and 23:34, 46 (on the cross).
What is your prayer life like? When do you pray and for what? How do your prayers help you become more like Jesus? How can you grow in prayer to pray more like Jesus?
Jesus and Friendship
Another critical component of Jesus’ spirituality was friendship. Where we tend to focus on church programs to form friendships, Jesus focused on the actual relationships. Where we tend to focus on information transmission, Jesus focused on mentoring and relational teaching.
Large crowds were always attracted to him and he seems to have had many followers. His group of followers was important to him, as we see him sending out 72 on a mission to share the gospel. But he had a qualitatively different relationship with a selection of his followers, twelve to be exact, “whom he also designated apostles” (Luke 6:13).
In this verse, we see Jesus calling his followers to him but selecting only twelve to be apostles.
Crowds followed Jesus and he taught and healed many out of these crowds, but when it came to learning, mentoring, and growing, he did so with a few. Did he not care about the rest? Did he not worry about them? Not at all. I think we see in this a narrowing of Jesus’ focus to mentor, teach, and build relationships (friendships) with just a few.
We can view this as a principle of friendship and see that Jesus’ followers are much like the larger circle of acquaintanceships and relationships we have, and his selection of twelve as a model for us to follow in our friendships (less is more, when it comes to friendship). He taught his disciples differently than he taught the crowds, providing more spiritual content to his disciples (Luke 8:9–15; 12:1) and his disciples were with him at crucial times in his life (Luke 9:28; 22:39).
What friends are you building deep relationships with? What is the difference, for you, between friendship and acquaintanceship? How do these friendships help you become more like Jesus? What values and priorities of Jesus show up in your friendships?
— — — — —
How to Connect With Me
If you’d like to talk about this, please leave a comment or reply to get in touch with me.
If you found this helpful, please click the heart to like it, leave a comment, and share it with 3 others or on your social media channels.
If you received this from someone else or enjoyed it by reading it online, please subscribe to this daily email at dailydiscipleship.substack.com.
Check out my books at my Amazon author page.