The alarm clock sounds and my daily routine begins. A cup of coffee and my Bible reading plan – check. I open social media and begin scrolling through my news-feed – check. But the prayer request I see on my computer screen causes me to stop. It reveals a heart-breaking reality.
A burden to pray begins growing somewhere deep inside. Yet as much as I long to cry out, I don’t know where to begin. Words don’t seem to have the power to convey the deep empathy I feel. Because I’ve been there. We all have – in painful times that leave us dumbfounded.
It’s in these distressing moments we often can’t find the words to pray. But Jesus shows us the power of prayers that pour out from a place of raw emotion.
Jesus understood our pain. In fact, Jesus prayed His most passionate prayers in the hardest moments. And through these prayers we find the example and encouragement we need for our own trying times. Here are three passionate prayers Jesus prayed to God.
A Prayer of Gratitude through Sorrow and Grief
Jesus heard his friend had become sick. He loved this man. The situation for Lazarus looked bleak, but Jesus showed confidence in God’s plan by saying, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this” (John 11:4). By the time Jesus arrived to see him, Lazarus had been dead four days.
Jesus revealed the magnitude of His sorrow after he came face to face with Mary. When Jesus saw her crying, He was “deeply moved” (John 11:33). Then He cried too. Jesus grieved over the loss of His friend, but He was also responding to Mary’s deep anguish. As any true friend would, Jesus offered His own tears, mourning right along with her.
Jesus followed the crowd to the tomb and asked them to roll away the stone. Then He prayed a passionate prayer of thanksgiving. “Father, thank you for hearing me”(John 11:41). He didn’t pray for Lazarus to wake up. He didn’t pray for God to perform a miracle. He thanked His Father for always being available in times of need, for always hearing. He prayed so others would see Him and believe.
A Prayer for God’s Will to Prevail
Sometimes I pray and God performs a miracle. Other times I pray, but God allows me to go through a hard situation. At those times I’d like to turn and run the other direction, but I have to trust. Because facing life’s hard helps me grow into the person He created me to be.
Jesus walked a road more treacherous than any of us can imagine. He asked God if there was any other way, but ultimately He resolved to obey.
“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).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus took three men with Him to keep watch as He prayed. He knew the time drew near to fulfill God’s plan, so He cried out this desperate plea. Jesus’ words show us His commitment to God’s will. He was willing to go through it all, yet He still sought the possibility of an alternate route.
Being God in human form, Jesus felt the pain we feel. Hebrews 4:15 says, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.” Through sorrow He chose submission. Through anguish He chose obedience, regardless of the outcome.
A Prayer for Forgiving Someone Who Hurt You
It may be my biggest challenge of all – forgiveness. After all, the person who wronged me didn’t ask for forgiveness, and he certainly didn’t deserve it. Yet this third example of passionate prayer by my Saviour shows me how to forgive, even in the midst of deep hurt.
“Jesus said, ’Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus understood the Truth of God’s Word which would one day be recorded in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (ESV). Yet He chose to be a living example of the power of forgiveness. He went through torture to show us its potential. He also offered it to each of us without condition.
Jesus’ passionate prayers all share one purpose – to glorify our Heavenly Father. “We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:12NIV).
He prayed in earnest, but His focus remained constant. He did what was best for you and me. So the next time I see a prayer request pop up in my newsfeed, I’ll remember the passionate prayers of Jesus. Even if I stumble through the words, God always hears.
Let’s determine today to display unbridled passion in our prayer life as we face adversity. Through every loss, uncertainty, or hurt, we find hope as we call out to Him.