if Jesus needed to make time for prayer, so must I
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. (Mark 1:35)
“Some mornings I feel like if getting up early was an object, I would break it, burn it, and bury it where it could never be found again.” I read these words on a greeting card and shook my head in agreement.
Anyone associated with the military knows about getting up at zero dark thirty. A study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reported that early risers are more proactive, get better grades in school, anticipate problems and try to minimize them, have more time to exercise, eat healthier, and enjoy more time doing what they love to do.1 As a self-professed night owl I sarcastically say, “good for them.”
In Mark 1:35 we’re told Jesus quietly rose before anyone else. His itinerary had been intense and he knew more was to come. He went outside and found a remote spot. The point was not the hour of the day, but the act of the hour. Even though he must have been tired after a demanding day of ministry, his sense of mission compelled him to find a place free of distraction for prayer.2
No distractions—are you kidding me? It sounds like a small thing, but depending on the season of life it can be impossible. I realize from this scene, however, that if Jesus needed to make time for prayer, so must I. If he prayed in order to live a life empowered by God, so must I.3 I don’t know about you, but I can’t do this thing called life without the help of the Lord. I get overwhelmed too easily. I get focused on me too much. I forget too often that I have a divine purpose.
There are no medals for rising early. As we establish a habit of prayer, the thing we have to remember is prayer is not about performance. It is about taking time to talk to God, and making time to listen to him. God’s schedule is not so full that he cannot communicate with you whenever you come to him. It’s not the time, place, or length, but that we do it.
The same God who gave Jesus strength, encouragement, and guidance for his earthly mission is available to us through prayer. Do you have a set time or place for being alone with God? What are some ways you incorporate prayer into your day?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, help me live in your presence every moment of this day. Thank you for the privilege to communicate with you. Guide me on the journey called today.
1 Ray B. Williams, “Early Risers Are Happier, Healthier and More Productive than Night Owls,” Psychology Today, August 20, 2012, accessed July 29, 2014. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201208/early-risers-are-happier-healthier-and-more-productive-night-owls.
2 R. T. France, The New International Greek Testament Commentary: The Gospel of Mark (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2002), 101.
3 R. Kent Hughes, Mark: Jesus, Servant and Savior, Volume 1 (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 49.