When I look at the life of Jesus, I admire His discipline and dependence on prayer. When it comes to prayer, communicating to God was even the utmost priority for Jesus. He knew the importance to pray first. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35). 

How did Jesus pray? He prayed for God to forgive others. “Jesus said, ʻFather, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:34). Jesus prayed for God’s will to be done. “He went on a little farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.’” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus prayed for guidance. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16). He prayed for His disciples and believers. “Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11). Jesus gave thanks. “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’” (Mark 14:22).

Recently, I was interviewed for a podcast and was asked what new routine or habit did I want to start for 2019?” I replied, “Pray more.” The Apostle Paul wrote: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:16-18). Then the Apostle Paul reminded us the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf as he wrote about in Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

On a recent flight to speak at Family Church in Middletown, NY, the airplane door closed and I turned on my “pray playlist” and began to listen to “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. Often, I simply pray, “God I trust You.” As I surrender in my heart and mind the concerns I may have, peace begins to fill my heart.

Speaking at a church is like going on a mission trip for me. I fly somewhere new and arrive at a church—gathering with people I may have never met. My prayer is: “How may I add value to the people in this place?” I want to encourage them in their faith. Before I ever arrive, and say one word from the stage, I pray for months in advance.

My favorite spot on an airplane is by the window. I enjoy seeing the earth below and can rest against the body of the aircraft. My favorite time to fly is at sunset or sunrise. To see the sun break over the layer of clouds is breathtaking. I am reminded that wherever you go, God is already there. Whatever you may be about to face, God has gone ahead of you.

As we begin this new year, may we pray first. Let’s pray for forgiveness, for God’s will to be done, for guidance, protection, and in all things let us give thanks.

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