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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.

5:16 And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." (Luke 5:15-16 KJV)

"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.

2 week old Ringneck Dove

"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.

6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles." (Luke 6:12-13 KJV)

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.

9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 9:35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him." (Luke 9:28-35 KJV)

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.

14:24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 14:25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea." (Matthew 14:22-25 KJV)

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.

21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them." (Matthew 21:12-14 KJV)

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,

Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 17:7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 17:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

17:25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:1-26 KJV)

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.

Doves

"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.

26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

26:43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 26:44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

26:45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 26:46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me." (Matthew 26:36-46 KJV)

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?

Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 26:51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear.

26:52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 26:54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" (Matthew 26:50-54 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the Messiah teach about "persistent prayer"?
See Parables Of Jesus Christ: Persistent Prayer


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