In these days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and spent all night in prayer to God.
From Richard Roberts:
One of the primary points of Luke’s gospel was to show his readers the extent of the authority of Jesus Christ. From proving His authority over the spiritual powers to His authority over the Law, he reveals, by the Holy Spirit, the greatness of this powerful God-man who shows grace to the humble outcasts and broken people. And yet, he is also careful to show us, in Luke 6:12, that even the God-man needed the strength of His Father to do what He had been sent to do. He reveals, almost in passing, that in the midst of the conflict of v11 and before the foundational acts of selecting His 12 apostles on which to build the new humanity (Eph 1) which He came to restore, we see the Divine King spending all night away from the ‘normalcy’ of life and the busyness of the city in order to pray and to seek the will and the power of God. This is the only time an “all-night prayer” is mentioned in the New Testament and I do not believe it is an accident that it comes directly after the first mention of the Pharisees’ plans of “do away with Him” and directly before the choosing of the 12. Jesus is preparing for the most difficult part of His ministry, for conflict without and conflict within, for enemies seeking to destroy Him and the painful frustration of training up obstinate self-centered men to carry on the gospel proclamation.
If we, now united to Christ and by Christ, are called to carry on His mission to bring all things to glorify Him in our society, it quickly becomes painfully obvious that we lack the power to do so. In ourselves, this task of loving and living like Christ, being transformed from within to move forward, is daunting at best and seemingly impossible in reality. Sure, I want to think Christianly about all things, to be patient with those around me during difficult times, to love those who behave like enemies and forgive those that hurt me, but COME ON, LORD!! Just ask me to pass out a tract, or hold up a sign, or invite someone to church, or just speak the truth. Those things I can do, they’re hard, but I can do them. But, asking me to be gentle when others attack me, or humble when others succeed and I don’t! Don’t ask me to work hard for a society that hates You and fights for foolishness and at the same time invest all my own power to benefit them! And PLEASE don’t ask me to die to my own comfort and ease and security and respect and honor in order to build up the very people that don’t appreciate me or even try to tear me down! How can I do that?!
This is accurate thinking. You cannot do that. I cannot do that. But, it’s not right thinking, for it ignores the very premise which is underneath Luke 6:12. The Lord has called us to be like Him. What are we to do? For such a desperate time as this we must follow the footsteps of the prophet Daniel. It was not Daniel’s wisdom or Daniel’s strength that lifted him to be Christ-like in his foolish, tyrannical, pagan, multi-cultural, relativistic, polytheistic culture (just like ours!). It was this fact from Daniel 1:9,17 - “and God gave them…” Any power that we have to be, think, and do like Jesus is found only in the power and the working of the Holy Spirit of God within us and through us. He is the ultimate mover of hearts, the ultimate Wise One, and the ultimate giver of all needed resources. So, the first step in learning to be like Him and to follow Him rightly, is really not a step at all, but a drop. A drop onto our knees in prayers of gratitude and petition, moving from self-will to utter dependence, asking the Almighty and Gracious Creator to work within us His promised presence and powerful transformation of the soul.
You see, the reason that living for His Kingdom, giving up power in repentance and living in complete trust of Jesus, is that we have an enemy who does not want our Father to get any glory. And he wages war against our Father and against His people. It is in these times of conflict without and spiritual battle within that we struggle, and as such is the reality, so is the utter necessity for the spiritual strength, protection, and resources not of our will or mere determination, but of the presence of God Himself. Prayer is our first step in every aspect of our life with Jesus. From the self-denial of repentance, to the power to believe, really believe, for the strength to endure when everything around comes crashing down, to the power to pursue the Lord in the midst of great pain, and to the hope that He has called us toward in Christ, our greatest strength and power lies in His presence with us and His power to shape us into the image of Christ Jesus. So we will pray like He prayed as conflict around us continues and the kingdom of God advances further and further until the last tear falls.