And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Jesus had spent an emotionally and physically exhausting day with his disciples in Capernaum.
He had taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, cast an unclean spirit out of a man, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever. By sundown, the whole city was at the door with their sick and demon-oppressed, and he healed many of them.
The next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up to pray. He was gone long enough for Peter and the disciples to search for him. When they found him, there’s a hint of annoyance in Peter’s response. “Everyone is looking for you.”
Jesus, ignoring whatever tone Peter might’ve conveyed, responded “Let us go to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out” (Mark 1:38). Resolved and determined, Jesus’ time in prayer confirmed that moving onto Galilee was his next order of business.
Could Jesus have been considering a different course than to continue on to Galilee? If there had been any doubt before, there was not now.
Often after a busy season, I feel entitled to sleep in or avoid other early morning commitments. But Jesus knew this pre-dawn appointment with his Father was where his strength lay. He needed communion with his Father, to handle the pressures and the decisions of his day.
Despite the demands of ministry, Jesus’ busyness didn’t move him off his God-given course. Needing rest wasn’t an excuse for him to miss out on prayer. In fact, he pursued God more because he was exhausted. His human limitations reminded him of his desperate need to be in close fellowship with God.
Is Busyness Your Excuse Not to Pray?
Technology allows us to be more productive than ever. But in our efforts to be productive, are we really masking a deeper issue? Do we fill up our time to avoid dealing with matters of the heart? Are we trying to fill up some secret place inside our hearts with activity, notifications…and importance?
I can look back on several significant decisions I didn’t pray through. I wasted time, energy, and money, and sometimes broken relationships as a result.
What if I had prayed more, and reacted less? Could I have avoided some painful lessons?
R. A. Torrey said, “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity but we accomplish little; many services but few conversations; much machinery but few results.”
Laying our day before the Lord in prayer is modeling a life of dependence on God for his guidance, just like Jesus did. We need to imitate Jesus’ commitment to early morning prayer and be alone with our Father. We can be like Jesus and offer our plans to God, and let him redirect us as needed.
After Jesus Prayed…
After Jesus had spent sufficient time with his Father, he confidently moved forward to the next town. Even in his fatigue, Jesus was invigorated after his time in prayer.
It’s worth whatever sleep we deny ourselves to seek God first each day, and have him show us the business he has planned.
Seeking to seek him first,
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