It has been rightly said, “the secret of all failure is our failure in secret prayer.” I think it was Oswald Smith who said, “when we work, we work, when we pray, God works.” Throughout history, the men and women that God has used mightily have been people who knew how to pray and for whom prayer was both a priority and a necessity.
We have been seeing that a huge part of prayer is relationship and partnership. This incorporates one of the basic principles that governed the life of Jesus. In John 5:19 Christ said, “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” Then, in John 8:28-29 and 14:10 He repeated the principle. The principle should be obvious for us. For Jesus Christ, prayer was a way of life, an absolute necessity: it was a means of communion with the Father and the means of bringing the power of God the Father to bear on the humanity of Jesus Christ moment by moment. We see this in Matthew 12:18, 28.
Note that for the most part, it appears Jesus performed His works and spoke His words by the power of God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit whom the Father had given Him. Though God of very God Himself, Jesus generally did not perform His works independently of the Father nor the Spirit’s leading (Acts 2:22). It was the Father working through Jesus, the man.
As we study the life of Christ in the gospels, we note a consistent pattern: We seen some days ago, in the midst of a busy schedule, Christ retired to pray and to draw upon the resources of God the Father for He knew that “the Son can do nothing of Himself” (Mark 1:32-37). When it was time to choose the disciples we don’t find Christ reviewing the qualifications of each of the disciples. Rather we find Him retiring to pray. This is clear in Mark 3:13 and Luke 6:12-13. Why? Because “the Son can do nothing of Himself.” He needed the direction and provision of the Father.
When Jesus stood at the tomb of Lazarus He raised His eyes heavenward in dependence and thanksgiving for what the Father was about to do (John 11:40-42). The actual prayer of Christ is not given, only the fact of His dependence, thanksgiving, and confidence that His prayer had been heard. The words of verses 41 and 42 imply, however, that not only did He pray to the Father, but that He wanted all those standing around to know it as well that they might learn the secret of dependence. This teaches us that when performing miracles, though not always heard by men, Jesus the man was praying in dependence upon the Father from the standpoint of His humanity.
When He fed the five thousand. The words “and looking up toward heaven” demonstrate the Lord’s prayerful dependence (Mark 6:41). Also, “He blessed the food” which shows He thanked God the Father for it and for what He, the Father, was about to do through Jesus.
Jesus Christ was the Son of God, God incarnate, the perfect man and the absolute Creator God who also as the God-man adequately and continuously fulfilled every expectation of God for man. He was the constant delight and joy of the Father’s heart. He always pleased the Father. Now, thinking of Him as such, ask yourself this question. How much did He personally, as man, contribute to His mighty works, deeds, and ministry? NOTHING! Christ Himself gives us the answer, “. . . the father abiding in me does His works” (John 14:10). And how did that come about? Through prayerful dependence on the Father!