I recently gave some time to looking through the gospels at Jesus praying. Not his teaching about prayer, but rather how they show him praying. The context, the nature, the audience (if there was one) etc. And fascinating it was. Particularly in the way it showed how much of him as a prayer there is in the gospels. Of course it could reasonably be argued that all his life was prayer, but I thought it worth being a bit more narrowly focussed than that. Where was there a clear sense of Jesus in some form of intentional communing with the Father and or the Holy Spirit.
I ended up drawing a list of big headings that described something of the different natures/styles/contexts of Jesus at prayer in the Gospels.
The headings are:
Glorification: at his baptism and transfiguration
Isolated prayer – in a lonely place, desert, mountain
Corporate prayer – in the synagogue or with his disciples
Thanksgiving and / or Rejoicing
Intercessory prayer – not least on the cross
Discernment – before choosing his disciples and in Gethsemane
Transforming – for healing, revelation (Emmaus Road), the vine
Lament / Emotional – over Jerusalem, on cross
In suffering – on cross – forgive, desolation, committal
Having done this, I’m aware this is a work in progress, as every time I think a bit more about this something more emerges. Please feel free to add your own comments and insights into this ongoing project.