Monday, April 8, 2019

Book Review: The Prayers of Jesus by Mark Jones

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BOOK review
Started on: 23 March 2019
Finished on: 30 March 2019

Title: The Prayers of Jesus: Listening to and Learning from Our Savior
Author: Mark Jones
Publisher: Crossway Books
Pages: 224 pages / 224 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication: 2019
Price: Rp 258,633 (https://www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 3/5
*This e-book was received as a review copy from Crossway
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"Experience is a great teacher for our prayers, and the more he experienced, the more his prayers would develop in light of those experiences, challenges, and struggles."
Jesus's ministry on earth as a human was marked by a devotion to prayer. Through his prayer life, we see what it means to truly depend on God. This book examines all of Jesus's prayers recorded in the New Testament, and it reflects on the content and structure of the Son of God's words to his Father—which helps us imitate his example as we commune with our heavenly Father as adopted sons and daughters in Christ.

"If there was ever a perfect example of the will of God being done on earth as it is in heaven, Jesus was that example."
"In prayer, he rightly told the Father what he already knew. God already knows all we tell him. So prayer involves more than simply telling him something he already knows. Christ confirmed the truth in prayer."
Just like the title suggests, this book examines Jesus's prayers that are recorded in the New Testament. The book is divided into 26 chapters, each one focusing on a specific topic of Jesus's prayers. At the start of this book, Mark Jones wrote an introduction to help us understand the prayers of Jesus. He said that understanding and appreciating our praying Lord require us knowing him through a good theology about Christ (Christology). I think this introduction is laying the groundwork before thoroughly going through the prayers that Jesus prayed in the Bible. Even though the introduction was a bit heavy for a start, I think it was necessary. And thankfully, I've taken a Christology class at church last year so I'm not completely clueless about it.
"The Father gave you to Christ, who kept God's Word and prayed to the Father for your ability to "hear" and "do" in a way that accomplishes God's purposes. All of our obedience (in the power of the Spirit) comes as an answer to the Son's prayer. What a humbling yet comforting reality!"
Each chapter starts with a title and a Bible verse of what Jesus prayed for. In this review I'm going to discuss a few chapters that I really liked and shared some things that I learned from them. The first one is titled Jesus Prayed the Lord's Prayer, which is probably one of the most popular prayers and I believe many of us have memorized by heart. In this chapter, I love how the writer really examines the prayer in detail through each word and petitions. I love the third petition in this prayer, which is "Your Will Be Done...". Jesus is the perfect example because he gave up his prerogatives and relied entirely upon the Holy Spirit to direct him in his obedience to God—which is why we should learn to pray in the same way.

The next chapter that I'd like to share is the one called Jesus Prayed Joyfully in the Spirit. This chapter talked about fruit of the spirit (singular in Galatians 5:22), which means we must and will be truly (though imperfectly) loving, joyful, faithful, and so on. We cannot claim that we have joy but I do not have self-control or patience (which I used to do). In the case of Jesus Christ, he was filled with the Spirit beyond measure, so he possessed the fruit of the Spirit, including joy, fully and perfectly. This explains why he could have joy even in the time of supreme suffering, when he was on the way to the cross. No matter how intense his suffering was, Jesus knew there was a purpose in that suffering that would lead to his glory and ours. I think Jesus is a great example for us in living our lives and possessing the fruit of the Spirit as a whole, not separately.
"In Christ's prayers we cannot help but be aware of his deeply personal relationship with the Father, which breathes out frequent affirmations of love. If there is one controlling aspect of true spiritual life that should accompany prayer, it is the reality that we are loved. For if God does not love us, then why even pray? But because God loves us in the same way that he loves his Son, how can we not pray?"
And the last one that I'm going to share is about Jesus Prayed for His Enemies. This prayer is quite popular, in which he said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Through this prayer, Jesus is living what he preached—because he instructed his followers to love their enemies and also pray for their prosecutors. It's a great display of love and forgiveness in action when Jesus Christ prayed on the cross for those who put him there. His attitude of mercy toward his oppressors provides a great example for us as his followers. Although it is difficult to do at times, I'd like to remind myself of this prayer of Jesus—teaching me to forgive others and extend mercy just like what Jesus Christ has done for me.

There are still a lot of great themes that are discussed in this book that I did not mention in this review, including the High Priestly Prayer from John 17:1-26. Overall, I enjoyed this book especially because each chapter is filled with supporting scripture and also context that will help us understand better the prayers of Jesus. However, since this book involves a lot of theology, some parts are quite hard for me to follow. I think I would've enjoyed it better if it's written in a more practical way. But nevertheless, it's still a great book about the prayers of Jesus, and I think a lot of people will be able to learn from it.
"Can anyone accuse Christ of not practicing what he preached? Can anyone say he did not love his enemies? His attitude of mercy toward his oppressors provides a mighty example for his followers."
"We can be so thankful for the prayer life of Jesus. There is no hope without it, but every hope because of it."
by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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