Prayer, for Jesus, wasn’t a few memorized words that He said before he went to bed. No. For Jesus, prayer was a necessity. It was an attitude. It was the very air he breathed.
One day, a boy stood watching a holy man praying on the banks of a river in India. When the holy man completed his prayer, the boy went over and asked him, “Will you teach me to pray?” The holy man studied the boy’s face carefully. Then he gripped the boy’s head in his hands and plunged it forcefully into the water. The boy struggled frantically, trying to free himself in order to breathe. Finally, the holy man released his hold. When the boy was able to get his breath, he gasped, “What did you do that for?” The holy man said, “I just gave you your first lesson.” “What do you mean?” asked the astonished boy. “Well,” said the holy man, “when you long to pray as much as you longed to breathe when your head was underwater, only then will I be able to teach you to pray.”
Jesus longed to pray, just as we long to breathe; and as a result, He literally prayed without ceasing. He didn’t always utter formal prayers, and he didn’t always kneel down or bow His head. But He was always in contact with His Heavenly Father! He had a busy ministry. He preached; he healed the sick, the lame, the blind, and the dumb; he raised the dead; and he provided comfort and understanding to all who needed it. Throughout this, it was only His constant communication with His Father through prayer that sustained Him.
In John 14:10, Jesus says, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work.” (NIV). The Father couldn’t have been doing the work unless Jesus was in constant contact with Him; and His means of communication was prayer. To Jesus, prayer was an absolute necessity.