Why did Jesus need to pray being the Son of God?

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By BibleAsk Team


The question of why Jesus, as the Son of God, felt the need to pray is a profound one that touches on the very nature of His incarnation and His relationship with the Father. Exploring this question requires delving into several aspects of Christian theology, including the humanity and divinity of Christ, His role as the Mediator between God and humanity, and the significance of communion with the Father in His earthly ministry. Let’s embark on this exploration, drawing upon references from the Bible.

Incarnation and Humanity of Jesus:

One of the central mysteries of the Christian faith is the Incarnation—the belief that the eternal Son of God took on human flesh and became fully human while remaining fully divine. In Christ, the divine and human natures are inseparably united. As a human being, He experienced all the limitations and vulnerabilities of human existence, including the need for sustenance, rest, and emotional support. Communion with the Father, then, can be seen as a natural expression of His humanity, as it was His means of finding strength and guidance in His earthly ministry.

It was through His human nature that He experienced temptation. Had His experience with temptation been in any degree less trying than our experiences with it, He would not be able to help us. “For in that He Himself has suffered, being [a]tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV). We have a representative before the Father who can “be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” hence, we are invited to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” for “grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15, 16, NKJV).

Example for Humanity:

Christ’s life serves as an example for humanity to follow. Throughout the Gospels, we see Him modeling a life of prayer and dependence on the Father. In Luke 5:16 (NKJV), it is recorded that “He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” His commitment to daily connection with His Father demonstrates the importance of cultivating a personal relationship with God through prayer and seeking His will in all things.

The Savior took upon Himself human nature, and with it the possibility of yielding to sin. He was allowed to face life’s temptations like every human being, to fight the war like every child of God must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal death. Only thus could it be said that He was “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, NKJV). Otherwise, if, as some claim, Christ, being the Son of God, could not be tempted—then His temptation was a mockery.

Submission to the Father’s Will:

While Christ is fully divine, He voluntarily submitted Himself to the will of the Father during His earthly ministry. This submission is exemplified in His prayers, particularly in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion. In Matthew 26:39 (NKJV), He prays, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Here, He acknowledges the sovereignty of the Father and surrenders Himself to His divine plan, even unto death.

Intimacy with the Father:

Despite being the Son of God, Christ maintained a close and intimate relationship with the Father. Prayer was the means by which He communed with the Father, received guidance and strength for his ministry, and experienced the Father’s love and affirmation. In John 11:41-42 (NKJV), He prays before raising Lazarus from the dead, saying, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” His prayer demonstrates His confidence in the Father’s responsiveness and His desire to glorify Him through His actions.

Intercession for Others:

Christ not only prayed for Himself but also interceded on behalf of others. In John 17, often referred to as the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prays for His disciples and all future believers, asking the Father to protect them, sanctify them, and unite them in love. In John 17:20-21 (NKJV), Jesus says, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Christ’s prayer to the Father highlights His concern for the welfare of His followers and His desire for their unity and spiritual growth.

Empowerment for Ministry:

Prayer was essential for Christ’s ministry as it empowered Him with the Holy Spirit and prepared Him for the challenges He faced. In Luke 3:21-22 (NKJV), we see Him praying at His baptism, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Him like a dove, affirming His identity as the beloved Son of God. Throughout His ministry, Christ relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to perform miracles, teach with authority, and confront opposition.

Christ knows by experience what humanity can bear, and He has promised to help us overcome the power of the devil according to our personal strength to endure, and also to “make the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NKJV). Within every human heart the great battle that Christ went through in the wilderness of temptation is repeated. Without trial—without the chance to choose to do right or to do wrong—there can be no growth in the Christian experience. It is by resisting the devil that we can overcome (James 4:7).

Fulfillment of Scripture:

Christ’s prayers also served to fulfill Old Testament prophecies and demonstrate His role as the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. In Mark 1:35-38 (NKJV), He rises early in the morning to pray, and when His disciples find Him, He declares, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.” Christ’s prayerful obedience to the Father’s will aligns with the prophetic expectations of the Messiah as a faithful servant and preacher of righteousness.

    In conclusion, the question of why Christ, as the Son of God, prayed underscores the complexity of His nature and mission. While He is indeed divine, His experience of human incarnation necessitated reliance on prayer as a means of communion with the Father, submission to His will, intimacy with Him, intercession for others, empowerment for ministry, and fulfillment of Scripture. Christ’s prayers throughout His earthly ministry serve as a model for believers, highlighting the importance of prayer in cultivating a deep and abiding relationship with God.

    In His service,
    BibleAsk Team

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