(Luke 5:16 NIV) But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Today we continue our series entitled, “The Benefits of Prayer and Fasting,” but an emphasis on “The Power of Prayer.” In our last message we looked at Jesus as an example of why we should pray. We will do the same this morning.
In Luke chapter 5 Jesus was on the move, making a difference everywhere He went. As Jesus came into a town, Luke records that a man with leprosy approached Him. Luke was a physician so he had no problem identifying leprosy. This leprous man was in a bad situation. Leprosy is not common today; so let me tell you a little about the illness.
Leprosy is an infectious disease that attacks the skin and central nervous system. People with leprosy often do not have the sensation of pain to identify cuts or bruises; so they frequently injure themselves without knowing. Leprosy also causes multiple lesions on the skin that generate a terrible smell. Lepers, for obvious reasons, were social outcasts. Lepers were considered unclean and since there was no cure, they were condemned to live the rest of their lives in leper colonies. Beyond the obvious physical damage, the treatment of lepers could easily cause psychological harm. They died a slow physical, mental, and social death. It is easy to understand why a man with leprosy would come and bow down to Jesus. This man heard that Jesus was a miracle-worker. In a seemingly hopeless situation, Jesus was his only hope.
With his face to the ground the leper said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” His statement exposes the fact that he had already resolved within his heart that Jesus was bigger than his problem. He did not ask Jesus if He could, but his inferiority complex wondered if He would. The text then reveals a facet of Jesus that comforts my soul. Mark’s account of this miracle says that Jesus was “filled with compassion.” Our God loves us. He genuinely cares for us. Jesus was not just motivated to heal because He could, but because He wanted to. He loved everyone. Jesus looked passed the outward appearance and saw someone hurting more on the inside than the outside. So before Jesus performed the miracle He did the unthinkable, He reached out and touched the leper. Jesus did what no clean person had since the day the disease had befallen him. Jesus gave the man what he so eagerly longed for – a human touch. Jesus loved him enough to meet him where He was, and He loved him too much to leave him there. Jesus said, “I am willing, Be clean!”
After this miracle Luke records that “The power of the Lord was present for him (Jesus) to heal the sick.” Basically, Luke moved on to what Jesus did next. But sandwiched between miracles is one short verse that tells us a great deal about how Jesus did what He did. In verse 16 Luke says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Another translation of this verse reads, “As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out of the way places for prayer.”
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
- Prayer was the key to Jesus’ success. In prayer He received instructions from heaven. In prayer He received downloads from the divine realm. This is how we are supposed to live!
- Jesus was able to walk in supernatural power daily because He was in complete sync with the Father. He only said what He heard the Father say. He only did what He saw the Father do (John 5:19.30). And this hearing and seeing happened in prayer. Which is why Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)
- Jesus said that He could do NOTHING without the Father (John 5:30). His power came from aligning with the Father’s plans and purposes. This alignment came in prayer. Without prayer you will not know what to say or do. Without prayer, your life will be completely human; you will live like everyone else in the world.
- No one questions the remarkable nature of Jesus’ life. What Jesus did for the leper only pales in comparison to what He performed in other miracles. But since Jesus never did anything He did not first see the Father do and He never said anything He did not first hear the Father say, then it is clear that Jesus saw Himself touching that particular leper while He was praying to the Father. Jesus always knew what to say and do, because He made the time to spend quality time alone with the Father in prayer. Have you been making time? If you fail to pray, you are robbing yourself of the privilege of becoming a conduit of God’s glory in the earth.
Father, this is a season of expectation for me. My expectation is UP! My dedication is also UP! I am determined to live as Jesus lived. Jesus only said what He heard You say. He only did what He saw You do. This is how I live! I declare, by faith, that You lead me in all things, at all times. You speak to my inner man, like You spoke to Jesus’ inner man. You manifest Your glory in and through my life, just like You did with Jesus. And to live this way, I know I must pray, like Jesus prayed. So I make time to spend time with You Father. I pray early in the morning and throughout the day. Living this way, I am able to enter every situation knowing that YOu will give me the words, and You will perform the work! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!