We see in Luke 6:12 that Jesus’ authority was rooted in prayer: “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God” (v. 12). It was Jesus’ custom to get away by himself to pray. Luke gives us other clear examples of this. Earlier, after spending a good part of the night laying his healing hands on the people of Capernaum, Luke 4:42 tells us, “And when it was day, he left and went into a desolate place." Likewise, in the busyness that came from ministering to large crowds after his healing of the leper, Luke states, “He would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (5:16). Jesus understood that if he was going to save people, it was necessary to get away for private prayer.
But what is even more shocking here is that it says: “all night he continued in prayer." That’s right… the entire night! Let’s just say, if he began after sundown at, say, 8:00 p.m. and prayed until sunup (6:00 a.m.), he spent ten hours in focused prayer. In fact, the Greek word translated “all night he continued” expresses persevering energy. As Jesus prayed on the mountainside, the moon ran its course, the night’s temperature changed with the hours, and the morning dew dampened his robes.
So the question is "Why this lengthy prayer time with the Father?" It’s because he had huge decisions to make regarding who should make up the Twelve. Jesus was a human being just like us, except that he was without sin. And though he was God, he placed the exercise of his attributes (his omniscience, for example) at the discretion of the Father. With this, he did not possess all knowledge, and his un-aided knowledge was not sufficient to know who to choose. Moreover, Jesus had numerous disciples, so it is possible that during some of those ten hours he presented them individually to his Father, so the nod would be given to those who were to become the Twelve.
Three years later, at the end of his life, Jesus would lift the Twelve to God in prayer saying, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word” (John 17:6).
Prayer was everything to Jesus. Through dependent prayer Jesus lived a life of flawless perfection, so that he could say, “I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him” (John 8:28, 29).
Though Jesus was the eternal Son, though he created everything, though he is the Alpha and Omega, though everything is moving toward and will culminate in him, he could not live his human life apart from dependent prayer.
Charles Spurgeon says: “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
The spiritual logic is inescapable. If Jesus, the Son of God couldn’t function as Jesus without dependent prayer, how much more is it essential for us. How foolish of us to frame our lives with prayer as window dressing but not really pray. How arrogant we would be to understand Jesus’ necessity to pray but reject it for ourselves! Too often we engage not in dependent prayer but in obligatory or routine prayer. Jesus didn’t say, “Apart from me you can do something .” He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing ” (John 15:5). This is the logic of a living church—the logic of true spiritual power.