If Yeshua Needed It… So Do I
By Youval Yanay
Have you accepted the invitation? Cashed the open check?
It’s actually a commandment you will not find in the Torah, but you will find throughout the New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says, “Pray always;” And in verse 25, “Brothers, pray on our behalf.”
Why has it now become not just an invitation to be accepted, but also a commandment to be joyfully obeyed? Because of the new and open door to relationship with God in Yeshua’s New Covenant.
Prayer brings us closer to God – just as the offering of the Torah sacrifices brought the one sacrificing closer to God. In Hebrew “to bring a sacrifice” is “to bring close” – L’hakreev. After the final sacrifice of Yeshua, there is no need to offer any more blood sacrifice, and prayer becomes our way to draw near and create a connection with God. (By the way Rabbinical Judaism also sees a connection between prayer and sacrifice, and calls the 3 daily synagogue services by the names of the 3 daily temple sacrifices: Shacharit-dawn, Mincha-late afternoon, and Maariv-evening.)
Heart prayer shows God that we want to be near Him and that we truly know we need Him. Like a father, God is pleased when His children want to be with Him.
While spending time with God in prayer, we are inspired to love God and praise Him. It’s not a mechanical chore that needs to be done, and not a “grocery list.” In heartfelt prayer, our zeal and attraction for Him grow. Nearness begets surrender. We understand that our health, livelihood, strength – everything is from God. This alters reality for us.
In Matthew 6:10-13, Yeshua teaches us how to pray – yes, even encourages us to ask for things: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”
Yet in verse 8 He says: “For your Father knows your needs before you ask Him.”
So if God already knows, why then should we pray for our needs? For one thing, that prayer time becomes an opportunity for quality relational interaction, like a husband and wife who use the excuse of “coordinating their day” to have some one-on-one time over coffee.
Look who’s praying: In Luke 5:16 we learn that Yeshua went out to desolate places and prayed. In Mark 1:35, in the early morning while it was still dark, Yeshua got up and went out to a deserted place and prayed there. Yeshua prayed a lot. When in difficulty, He would pray. When in need of comfort, encouragement and guidance, He would pray. In Gethsemane, after the last supper with the disciples, Yeshua was filled with sadness and anguish and so “he went a little way, he fell on his face and prayed” (Matthew 20:38).
If Yeshua needed to constantly pour out His heart to Father God and have it refilled, can I really live otherwise?
Prayer is where we hear God. A central part of prayer is listening. We receive encouragement and comfort and are filled with God’s love for us. He strengthens us and accepts us, yet He also at times will rebuke us. As we concentrate on Him and are filled with his presence, He graciously shows us what we must change in our actions, decisions and behavior. Learning is a way of life for the disciple as he is transformed into the glorious image of God’s son (Romans 8:29). We let the light of His word penetrate us, and live in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:7).
As disciples of Yeshua, we need to dedicate this time to Him regularly, daily and be filled with His love. We need to be “sheep” who hear Him, know His voice and follow Him. We want to live a prayer life of honesty and truth and closeness to the Lord, to reflect Yeshua to others – not only in what we say but also in who we really are. Prayer is where it all begins.
Intercession for others: We have the authority, grace and even duty, as instructors and teachers, to stand before the throne of glory and pray for others, especially those near us and under our care. To know their difficulties and the temptations they face, and to stand before God in prayer and obtain grace for them. We open a pathway for them, and protect them in prayer.
In conclusion: When we focus on ourselves, our needs, our rights, our desires and our plans, life becomes a prison of loneliness, sadness and emptiness. Prayer removes us from this prison and reminds us of God’s healing, liberating and saving action in our lives. It reminds us of what He did for us to pave our way to life and freedom. Prayer brings us back home.
Let’s all be people of prayer, prayer warriors, close to God and living out His kingdom.