Easter is a time to draw close to Christ and learn from his experience. We also can learn from his prayers from that last week of his life. It’s interesting that of his ten recorded prayers, six come from his last week. And they can inspire our prayer lives.
“Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28 NIV). Despite Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he said, “Now my heart is troubled.” When we are troubled, we also can ask God to be glorified in us.
“May they be brought to complete unity” (John 17:23 NIV). Jesus’s chapter-long Upper Room prayer emphasizes the importance of unity in the church and is an example to us to pray for the same today.
“Yet not as I will, but what you will” (Matt. 26:39 NIV). In the Gethsemane Garden Jesus prayed the two-sided prayer—what he wanted, life, but also God’s will in the matter. When we face critical decisions, we can pray similarly.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 KJV). In Jesus’s first of three prayers from the cross he models the imperative of forgiveness in the face of injustice and cruelty.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 NIV). With Jesus’s second prayer from the cross we see his humanity in his “why” question and know that we can pray our laments also.
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:45 NIV). Ultimately, Jesus’s last prayer shows us that the best posture of prayer is submission.
While we don’t have to use Jesus’s very words, he shows us the importance of opening our hearts honestly in prayer and opening our hands to receive what the Father has for us.
Janet McHenry is the author of twenty-four books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. Featured in Health and other magazines and media for her prayerwalking for her community, she directs the prayer ministries of The Bridge Church in Reno. Janet loves serving event planners and churches through her speaking and may be contacted at https://www.janetmchenry.com
Are you having a bad day? A bad decade? If you’re struggling to find peace, if you feel a certain emptiness, or you’ve misplaced your faith, there is hope.
In the midst of your mess, take heart and remember anew that the power of the resurrection is available in your life today.
Recently, Christians around the world celebrated Easter. We remember each year the true story of Jesus Christ dying on a Cross and rising from the dead—alive and victorious! He said He would and He did! Christ defeated death so we could live forgiven and free, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The good news is that we can live alive and victorious, too.
What was true thousands of years ago is still true: the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available to us today—and every day. (Check out Ephesians 1:19-20)
While things may seem dead or dormant in your life, the power of our living and loving God can resurrect and bring to life again. He has the power—the strength and ability fueled by love—to make real and lasting changes in your life.
He brings wholeness from brokenness.
He creates order from chaos.
He brings prodigals home.
He heals our infirmities.
He frees us from the grip of sin and temptation.
He resurrects dreams and desires.
He helps us to love again.
And so much more.
Just as an expectant gardener tills the soil, plants seeds, and waters the ground, surrender your hopes and dreams and brokenness in the soil of faith. Keep it well-watered by reading God’s Word, talking with God in prayer, praising Him and thanking Him for all He has done. Expect God to grow new life in you and your circumstances.
Easter for a child can often only mean candy, ducks, bunnies and an Easter egg hunt. And for the
first six years of my life, I am sure waking up to find out how many jelly beans and chocolate bunnies were in my Easter basket must have been my priority– that is until one Easter, when my mom’s best friend recognized how much we needed the Easter message:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
My family NEEDED that living HOPE! My parents’s marriage was unraveling and hanging by a weak, fraying thread. And we also needed the unconditional love Christ demonstrated when HE CHOSE to leave the glory of heaven and come live among we lowly, imperfect human beings– and my alcoholic dad especially needed to hear he was loved, even in his unlovely state. We needed the grace and mercy the Father extended. To this day when I wake up, I pray God’s grace and mercy over me, my marriage, my family and my future:
God give me GRACE: Lavish me with the blessings I DO NOT DESERVE but that you freely give
I am a sinner, You are the Savior
God give me MERCY: Hold back the wrath that I DO DESERVE but You shield far from me
I am unrighteous, You are the Redeemer
As a little girl, in my pajama’s, I used to tip-toe out to the living room, pull my flannel night gown over my knees and turn on the TV to watch a Christian television cartoon that showed a healthy mom, dad and happy children. I would pray, (not even having a clue who I was talking to in the cosmos,), “I want a happy family like that.”
Soon, God sent my mom’s best friend to invite us to her church. My mother, sensing this was an
important day, dressed us all up in our very best and bought me white gloves and an Easter bonnet to wear on my first day of going to the “House where God lives.” There, in that little tiny church, in a little tiny town, a little tiny girl met the GREAT and GLORIOUS GOD.
My life was forever transformed for the better. I soon began a personal relationship with the Creator God I had been whispering to. Eventually my mother, my siblings all began a relationship with Christ– and the day my dad died, he too, while reading Steps to Peace with God by Billy Graham, finally gave his broken heart to the One who had been lavishing love over his life, waiting patiently for His prodigal son to come home.
This is why we write — we write, we speak, we teach for the reason Christ came and gave His –to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken and the bruised,
The Easter Sunday, or any Sunday after, be brave enough to pray one of two prayers:
Lord, give me eyes to see who needs a relationship with you, and the courage to invite him or her to come hear about You, the God who loves us all enough to go up Calvary’s hill and give your perfect life, in payment for our imperfect lives.
Lord, I want to know You. I, too have been talking to You, hoping, wishing, praying for a better life here on earth and an eternal home one day in heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I receive that free gift of Your love.
Pastor Pete Jankowski once put it like this, “The cross was not Christ’s destination– YOU were.” .Jesus went through the grueling pain of the cross out of love for you! God reached out in sacrificial love to you, now, simply reach back in surrender to the God who created you, knows you and loves you.
E Jones and Karla Dornacher) and the Farrel’s best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti The Farrels have experienced many of the merciful answers to Pam’s “little girl” prayers, including a happy marriage of 38 years and three grown sons, three daughter in laws and four grandchildren who all love Jesus too.Pam and Bill live in Southern California, where they enjoy Easter sunrise services on the beach.