The book of Hebrews describes the prayer life of Jesus in the following way: “While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could deliver him” (5:7 NLT).
That doesn’t sound like the way prayers are offered up in most churches on a typical Sunday morning. “Dear Lord, we thank you for this day, and we ask you to be with us in all we say and do. Amen.” No pleading here, no loud cries and tears. Our prayers are cordial, modest, even reverent. Eugene Peterson calls them “cut-flower prayers.”
They are not like Jesus’ prayers, or, for that matter, like the psalms. The ranting and raving, the passion and ecstasy, the fury and desolation found in the psalms are so far from our religious expression that it seems hard to believe they were given to us as our guide to prayer. They seem so, well, desperate. Yet E. M. Bounds reminds us,
Desire gives fervor to prayer. The soul cannot be listless when some great desire fixes and inflames it…Strong desires make strong prayers…The neglect of prayer is the fearful token of dead spiritual desires…There can be no true praying without desire. (Man of Prayer)