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The Places Where The Messiah Prayed
Jesus Christ was a man of prayer. He prayed in private, for private matters, and in public, for public matters. The places where He prayed were quite varied, from the Temple in Jerusalem, to the wilderness, to mountains, in the middle of the day, late at night, or very early before the dawn.
The Messiah prayed at the time of His baptism in The Jordan River. The "dove" described there is symbolic of the Holy Spirit as it descended upon Him, in even greater measure than He already had. Why a dove? Perhaps because doves have a somewhat unique habit of hovering briefly as they land, with a gracious sound in their wings. I have a few pet ringneck doves (which are also known as "turtledoves" in the Bible). One of them, which was born here (unlike his parents who were purchased as young adults from a pet store) who is shown in the picture below as an infant, and farther down as an adult, has been handled since it was only a few days old. Now, when it sees me coming, it will sometimes fly to me and land on top of my head, providing a sensation of "arrival," from the moving air of the hover-landing, that, along with the "whispering" sound of its flapping wings, makes it easier to understand why a descending dove was used in that analogy.
"3:21 Now when all the people were baptized [see The Prophets: John The Baptist] , it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 3:22 And The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22 KJV)
On the other hand, there were times when He "withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed."
"5:15 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.
"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?"
The Messiah spent an entire night praying, on a mountain, before He chose the twelve.
"6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
There were other times that He would rise well before sunrise and pray in "a solitary place" (which may not necessarily have always been wilderness - there are solitary places in towns and cities in the middle of the night too).
"1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35 KJV)
The famous "transfiguration" (see The Tabernacles Vision), which was actually a vision of the future Kingdom of God on earth when Moses and Elijah will have been resurrected, was preceded by prayer. The location was a mountain.
"9:28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 9:29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 9:30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 9:31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 9:32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 9:33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.
At the end of the day's teachings (see also The Workday Commute), when He "sent the multitudes away," He would often go "up into a mountain apart to pray." Mountains, when they were near, seemed to be the Messiah's favorite place to pray.
"14:22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 14:23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
The most public place that the Messiah prayed was at the Temple, God's "house of prayer."
"21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
On the night before His Sacrifice, the Messiah prayed at "the last supper" - first, as an acknowledgment of the work that the Father had sent Him to accomplish, then for His followers of that time, then for His followers of all time.
"17:1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said,
The Messiah and the apostles (minus Judas) then crossed over to Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives - where He prayed again, this time in private, some distance from most of the apostles (obviously, at least one of them was close enough to hear His prayer, so that it could be recorded). The only other physical creatures to hear that prayer may have been birds, roosting for the night in the olive trees of the garden, perhaps doves similar to those in the photograph.
"26:36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 26:37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
One prayer that the Messiah didn't make that night (fortunately, for the religious hypocrites and thugs who were about to torture and kill Him) was "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"
"26:50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Fact Finder: What did the Messiah teach about "persistent prayer"?