Pray Hardest When It's Hardest to Pray
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.
Talk about a full day!
But the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up to go pray.
He was gone long enough for Peter and the disciples to search for him. When they found him, there’s almost 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.
I don’t know about you, but coming off a busy day, I often 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 lied. He needed communion with his Father, to handle the pressures and the decisions of his upcoming day.
The demands on Jesus’ time and attention were extraordinary. Yet, Jesus’ busyness didn’t move him off his God-given course. He didn’t use rest as an excuse to miss out on prayer. In fact, it probably drove him to pursue God because he was exhausted. His human limitations reminded him of his desperate need to be in close fellowship with God.
We live in a frantically busy and distracting time in history.
Technology allows us to be productive 24/7. As great as I guess this is, I wonder if our constant busyness is a symptom of a deeper issue?
Are we unnecessarily busy because we don’t pray through our decisions? Are we trying to fill up some secret place inside our hearts with activity, and notifications…and importance?
In my life, I can look back on several significant decisions I made that I didn’t pray through adequately (or at all). I wasted time, energy, money, and then suffered broken relationships over those prayerless decisions.
I can’t help but wonder “what if?” What if I had prayed about it more, might the Lord have redirected me and spared me some painful lessons? Maybe.
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 get away to a quiet place, and lay it all out before the Lord.
- Our busyness.
- Our to-do lists.
- Our desires and dreams.
- Our places of pain, fear, and doubt.
And loosen our grip on all of it.
Like Jesus, we come before the Lord with open hands and say, “Give or take away, or redirect me as you want to, Lord. Not my will but yours be done.”
After Jesus prayed…
He confidently moved forward to the next town.
He was unapologetic about seeking God’s will.
And, he reaffirmed his God-given purpose on earth.
Could busyness be snuffing out what business God may have for you? May we choose to follow Jesus’s example of seeking God first to help us find our way.
Friend, if you’re new here, or you’re curious about this holy leisure business…check out this handy download I’ve created. It’s designed to help you reframe this most important part of your day! I’m so thankful you’re here!