Learning from the Master, Part 2d

Look at Luke 6:12-16. This is just one of many illustrations of the extensiveness of the prayer life of Jesus.

In this passage, He is in the process of selecting the twelve disciples whom He will designate Apostles — those who will be close to Him and will minister with Him during His earthly ministry.

What we learn here, I believe, is that Jesus spent the night going over the names and faces and personalities of a great many of those disciples who were now following Him. How did He decide there should be twelve? Was that a counterpart in His life to the sons of Israel, fathers of the twelve tribes?

More importantly, how was He to know which of the many disciples would best serve Him and do the Father’s will?

Henry Blackaby, among others, shares insight at this point. The reason Jesus spent all night in prayer, Dr. Blackaby believes, is that it took the Father that long to reveal to Him the twelve that the Father had already picked. Jesus needed to hear from the Father, and there was a long process of revelation and explanation.

This view from Dr. Blackaby and other modern disciples makes perfect sense. Is not this the way our prayer life should be, if we are to follow Christ as our model? When we have a major decision to make, we need to spend the time to hear from God. We need to be sure we have weighed all the evidence He may bring to our minds as we are in the process of asking His guidance. He may not do that quickly, and we must be patient and purposeful as we listen and as we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God to us.

When you obligated yourself for a 30-year mortgage on your house, did you pray it through? Did you ask God to show you whether this is the house for you, and whether just the idea of buying a house is His will?

What about the college you attended? Or the college your kids attend? How much prayer went into that decision? Were you willing to spend all night in prayer on a matter that would forever shape the life of your son or daughter — or your own life? How about your business partnership, your career, your church membership, your acceptance of the committee chairmanship? Was that God speaking to you as you prayed and made the decision, or was it desire and political opportunism?

The key: Are we seriously praying about the most important things we do in this life, or leaving them to chance and to the siren song of the highest or lowest bidder?

You see, all of these things have to do with our relationship with our heavenly Father and with our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit living within us.

“He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us,” says Peter (2 Peter 1:3). This includes the right to ask Him for guidance — and the right to expect an answer.

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