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Jesus Often Prayed Through the Night (Luke 6:12)

1. Introduction

Prayer is communication with the spirit realm. Jesus invites and encourages us in two-way communication with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Prayer may be individual or corporate.

God commands us not to pray or worship other spiritual beings or saints, dead or alive. On occasion, we may find ourselves in a conversation with angels, directly talking to them as they fulfil an assignment sent by God.

2. Covenant

A. God Talks with His Covenant People

The first biblical covenant between God and man is the Adamic covenant. Their relationship was so close that God walked in the garden with Adam.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:8

God also made a covenant with Abraham, so likewise, we see that God spoke with him regularly. For example:

After these things, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”
But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed, one born in my house is my heir!”
And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you can number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

Genesis 15:1-5

There were others like Moses and David that God made a covenant with. Each time God made a covenant with someone, we see that He talked with them.

Likewise, it is the same for us living in the New Covenant. Through prayer, we also talk with God, in a very natural way, as two friends would.

B. New Covenant

The new covenant is superior to any of the previous covenants:

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry since He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.

Hebrews 8:6

It clarifies our prayer access.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them.

Hebrews 8:10-11

He wants to know you as a Father would know His children. I mentioned before how marvellous it was that God walked in the garden with Adam. Furthermore, under the New Covenant, it is even better! All we need to do to activate this new covenant is to believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died and rose again. Jesus then comes and lives inside us.

one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:6

3. God Desires Relationship Through Prayer

A. Father/Son Relationship

It was always God’s desire to have sons and daughters.

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:4-5

Even if our earthly father is not approachable, we can be sure that our heavenly Father is! This access to Father God enables us to address God by His name, Abba.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

B. Access was Opened Through Jesus Christ

God the Father will communicate with His sons and daughters. He always planned that this access to Him would come through His Son, Jesus Christ. So likewise, we can freely come into His presence to communicate with Him through prayer.

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

Access to the Father happened 2000 years ago. Once we believe in Jesus, we can talk to Abba Father directly.

4. Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

We need to be careful not to look for formulas or recite rehearsed dialogues because this can quickly destroy the authenticity of our prayer life.

A. Private Prayer Place

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:6

B. Warning About Repetitious Prayer

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Matthew 6:7

However, this does not mean we should only pray once. Jesus teaches us that we need to mix faith with our prayer.

C. Bold Prayer Expecting an Answer.

Elsewhere, Jesus encourages us to keep on praying until we get an answer:

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luke 11:9

D. Understanding the Grammar of Luke 11.9

The words ask, seek, and knock all relate to prayer. In grammar, their parsing is active and imperative. These parses mean that they are action words (verbs) that are going on repetitively (active) and demanding (imperative ). Do you see that asking, seeking, and knocking is not asking once, with an attitude of pleading? They are actions that repetitively proclaim in the heavens what God has promised in His word.

5. Friendship with God.

Developing fellowship with the Son and fellowship with the Holy Spirit are essential prerequisites for fellowship with the Father. God wants to be friends with us.

A. You Are a Friend with God

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

John 15:14-15

B. Persistence in Prayer

When I talked about ‘ask, seek, knock’, I pondered whether I was irreverent. Looking at this scripture, we find this is not the case:

And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.

Luke 11:5-8

This type of persistent faith gets the answer from God when it comes to prayer:

And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'”
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

Luke 18:4-8

6. Prayer Outside of Covenant

We see an interesting conversation between a Gentile and Jesus.

A. Canaanite Woman

And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”

Matthew 15:22

The woman was a Canaanite, a people group who were at enmity with Israel. She was outside the covenant that God had made through Moses.

But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 15:24

Remember that Jesus is the express image of the Father:

who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Hebrews 1:3

God will hear anybody who cries out to Him, in Jesus’ name.

B. Communicating with the Son of God

The Canaanite woman communicates with Jesus precisely what prayer to God is.

Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And Jesus healed her daughter from that very hour.

Matthew 15:25-28

God will heal people who are not yet believers if they simply trust in the name of Jesus.

C. Using the Name of Jesus without Genuine Belief

If someone uses the name of Jesus but does not truly trust in Jesus Christ and has a wrong attitude or motive, then God will not hear their prayer. We find an example of this amongst the Pharisees:

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Acts 19:13-16

7. The Disciples’ Prayer

To give us a template for praying as a son or daughter of God, we only need to look at THE Son of God’s advice on prayer.

In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
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.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

A. Our Father

Some say we MUST call God YHWH, and Jesus must be called Jeshua. This thinking is religious, not relationship thinking. Jesus is clear that we refer to God as our Father! That is the nature of our relationship with God if we believe in Jesus Christ.

B. In Heaven

He is in heaven, and the Father is also in us.

one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Ephesians 4:6

Therefore, if God is in heaven, that means all the benefits of heaven are inside of you!

C. Holy is His Name

Interestingly, Jesus is not saying that God is holy; that is obvious. Jesus is saying that the name of Father is holy!

We need to guard the Father-son/ Father-daughter relationship against being tarnished by the world and religion. A spirit of bondage and fear keeps us from calling Yahweh – “Father”. Although the name of Yahweh is still a name of God, by using the name of Father, we recognise that this is a whole new covenant that brings in the Father-son or daughter dynamic. We do not see this relationship in any of the previous covenants. God was never called Father in the Old Testament and is not called Father in any other religion.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

D. Your Kingdom Come

This phrase is not a prayer asking for a future kingdom because Jesus was given the kingdom at His coronation. In the next part of the prayer, we discover what He means.

E. Your will be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven

He is declaring that the kingdom realities in heaven can come to earth. There is no sin in heaven, and there is no sickness. He wants us to bring heaven to the world around us by healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead. He wants us to walk in righteousness so there is no sin in us.

F. Give Us Our Daily Bread

We need to ask our Father for our daily needs by faith. He knows our needs, so there is no point in being anxious about it. Remember that it is a proclamation of God’s goodness of provision.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:33-35

Notice that He separates seeking the kingdom of God from His righteousness? Part of receiving our needs is being involved in the kingdom and walking in holiness.

G. Forgive us our Debts

God ensures that He forgets our sins due to the New Covenant.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

Hebrews 8:12

However, this does not mean we should not confess our sins.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Some teach that we no longer need to confess our sins. However, this is erroneous as both Jesus and the Apostle John teach us to confess our sins to attain forgiveness. Let me put it in the context of the covenant relationship. Christine and I are in a covenant relationship – marriage. If I were to say at our wedding, “Any wrong I do to you in the future, you forgive me now”, what kind of relationship would it be? Saying sorry and changing the way we do and say things are essential for any covenant relationship. It is the same with God.

H. As we Forgive our Debtors

Being forgiven by God has the proviso that we forgive others! Why does God do that? Because He knows that holding unforgiveness is incredibly self-destructive.

Jesus teaches that if we do not forgive, He will discipline us.

And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”

Matthew 18:34-35

The root word for torturers is:

βασανίζω basanizō; to torture: — pain, toil, torment, toss, vex.

The definition of basanizō:

to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal

Strongs Concordance

This concept means that if we do not forgive from our hearts, then He will not protect us in this area from the consequences of our unforgiveness. The wage of sin is death, and there are always consequences to sin. Unforgiveness may result in sickness or broken relationships, for example.

So why do you think Jesus puts this in the area of prayer? Forgiveness is important, but I believe God realizes how hard it can be to forgive someone close to us. He wants us to talk to Him about this issue.

I. Do Not Lead Us into Temptation

Asking God not to lead us into temptation is linked to the previous line. Our prayer is to let there be an inward working, that when we start walking in the wrong direction of having a bad attitude toward our debtor, ‘God, please speak to me about it.’

‘Do not let me fall deeper into the hardness of heart.’
‘Communicate clearly with me before it becomes hard to hear your voice.’

J. Deliver Me from the Evil One

When sin enters the world, corruption results in death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

Some might rightly point out that we do not lose our access to eternal life by sinning unless we commit an unpardonable sin. However, there are always consequences to sin if we do not confess them and turn from them, such as broken relationships, sickness, torment, and addiction. These consequences are regardless of whether a person is a disciple of Jesus or not.

Death is not because of God’s punishment and anger; just like the law of gravity means we will fall; when we sin, there are consequences to sin. One of those consequences is that demonic activity increases around your life. King David experienced this when he committed adultery with another man’s wife:

‘Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!… See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for in You I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in You.’ 

Psalm 25:16–21 NLT

David did what Jesus was saying we should do when we sin: call unto God to save us! David asked God to deliver him from the evil person – one of the consequences of his sin of adultery and murder. Remember that we learnt that salvation is not merely becoming a son or daughter of God through belief in Jesus.

K. Doxology to the Disciple’s Prayer

Jesus has given us power,

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:8

and He has given us glory:

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 3:18

However, it is essential always to remember where it comes from and do nothing without Him.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

Having a friendly relationship with Abba means we abide in Him, which is precisely what prayer is. It also means that God will answer our prayers.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

John 15:7

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville van Eerten D.Miss. 2024

One Comment

  • Anonymous says:

    It’s great to know that God can heal those who are not yet believers if they simply trust in the Lord Jesus, you are bblessed Dr.

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