The Prayer Principle of Preparation

"...during the day. He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount...all the people would get up early in the morning and come to Him in the temple to listen to Him." Luke 21:37-38

Principle: Prayer involves spending time with God and it is the weapon of warfare that best prepares the prayer warrior for speaking a word for God.

The magnetism of Jesus was directly related to His personal practice of prayer. This time that He spent with His Father in prayer, prepared Him to speak a word for God. Before He spoke a word for God to His followers, His Father stamped His words with His authority and His insight. From the beginning of His ministry, this authoritative word drew His listeners to Him.

When Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, He amazed His listeners with the words. "You have heard it said,... but I say to you." (Matthew 5:21,27,31,38, 43) They had never heard anyone teach like this. They may have heard rabbis teach many times, but they were fond of quoting other great teachers to bolster their teaching.

Jesus spoke with an authority and an attraction that came out of the overflow of His time alone with God. It was not so much a new word that was being heard, as it was a new voice of authority and authenticity. Jesus got a word from God, and gave it to the people. "The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitude were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Matthew 7:28)

Jesus was not just knowledgeable about God, He was intimate with God. The rabbis who taught in the synagogues would often talk about God, but Jesus would often talk with God. This made a huge difference in His preaching, and the people of the land were attracted to Him as a result of it.

Jesus was attracted to His Father, and God attracted people to Him. Luke's account records, more than once, how Jesus would find a mountain when He was looking to spend more time with God.

"And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray." (Luke 6:12)

"He took along Peter, and John and James and went up to the mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28)

"And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives...and when He arrived at the place, He said to them, 'Pray...' " (Luke 22:40)

In Luke 21, this passage reveals how this prayer pattern of Jesus preceded and prepared Him to speak a word for God with the Presence and Power of God. After teaching all day in the Temple, Jesus would go to the mountain at evening , and He would get with God. Though prayer was not specifically mentioned in this passage, Luke documents on other occasions how much personal, private prayer was an ingrained pattern of Jesus' behavior. The result of this consistent companionship was that His Father used this time with His Son to make Him attractive to others.

Time alone with God is the best preparation for standing in front of other people and sharing a word about Him. The mountain climbing that Jesus did was not to get a better overview of the valley below. It separated Him from the people below who would not exert themselves to climb out of the valley and get with God. People who are in the pit of despair do not need someone to climb in with them. They need someone to lead them out of it. This can be done best by getting with God, and letting Him place His stamp of approval on the words of guidance that they need to hear from God.

Prayer prepares the man or woman of God to speak words of deliverance to people who are intimidated by immediate circumstances. Prayer puts the experiences of the valley into a perspective that can only come from God. Prayer is the means by which the people of God empty themselves, and are filled with His Presence and anointed by His Power. People who are filled with themselves seldom have enough to quench the thirst and satisfy the hunger of those who are starving for a word from God.

When people hear a man or woman of God speak to them, they need to hear from God. When some people preach, the response is, "What a great sermon." When others preach, they say, "What a great preacher." When the message comes from time spent with God, they will say, "What a great Savior." This is what people need the most. God gave the world a Savior, and Jesus kept in touch with the One who sent Him. The preparation Jesus made in prayer gave His message an influence and an attraction that was backed up by the Presence and the Power of God.

The Practice of Prayer: Make a list of the people you influence the most. Begin and end your day by praying for them. Before you speak a good word from God to them, pray a good word to God for them.

Thought for the Day: Preparing to speak for God should be preceded by spending time with God in prayer.

"Prayer affects men by affecting God. Prayer moves men because it moves God to move men. Prayer influences men by influencing God to influence them." E.M. Bounds