Several years ago someone came up with the logo "WWJD." It stood for "What Would Jesus Do." People bought these logos as bumper stickers, clothing and jewelry. It made some people a lot of money.
Jesus prayed before He did anything. He went to the wilderness and fasted for forty days before He began His ministry. I happen to know that He prayed intensely during these forty days because I have fasted forty days three times in my life. Fasting without prayer is just going hungry. Fasting will drive you to prayer. I found that I didn't remember my hunger when I prayed. I used work to distract me from the hunger when I wasn't praying. Jesus fasted in the wilderness. He didn't have the distractions from the hunger that I have had. He prayed intensely!
The disciples noticed Jesus' prayers. They had, no doubt, heard the prayers of the Pharisees. They would love to stand on the street corners so people could hear their eloquent prayers. Jesus' prayers were not like the Pharisees'. His prayers reflected something much deeper. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
He gave them the model prayer. We call it the "Lord's Prayer." I wonder if they thought this was something they could repeat when they didn't know what to say in a prayer. I wonder if they scratched their noses and thought of the afternoon football game while repeating it. I don't really see the value in repeating this prayer if it doesn't mean anything to you. I believe we have missed Jesus' teaching on prayer if that is all we do.
Jesus' praying wasn't different because of the elements in His prayers. His prayers are different because they reflect the confidence of Someone with a personal relationship with the One to whom He is praying. It reflected Someone who sought after God's will and prayed that will into existence.
We see this in Jesus' prayer at Lazarus' tomb. He says that He is thankful to His Father because He hears Him. He reveals that He knows what God will do in raising Lazarus. He prays and then has the power of the Father to raise Lazarus from the tomb. Do you think this would have happened if He hadn't prayed?
Many churches have groups of people they call "prayer warriors." These people are called upon in a crisis to pray. Some of these churches should call these people "prayer worriers." They don't pray with any confidence based on their relationship to the Lord. They do not seek His will. They just say words and worry whether or not anything will happen.
It is clear by Jesus teaching that the key to prayer is not in the words. The key is in seeking the Father. When we know Him, we will know His grace and power. We will know His will as He reveals it to us. Remember that Jesus revealed Himself to the disciples when He called them friends. We become friends with God and He reveals His will to us. We pray on the basis of our relationship to Him.
People who truly know God do not have to worry. Jesus never worried. He did not worry about the cross. He didn't want to go through it if possible. He accepted His Father's will. He walked the path to Golgotha because of His relationship with His Father. His complete devotion was the reason He was able to pray as He did.
How is your prayer life? Is it based on words or on your relationship to the Lord?