February 23, 2023

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off  to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  Mark 1:35

If your life is anything like mine, there is never a dull moment

Endless errands. Ever-expanding ‘to-do’ lists. A plate piled high with responsibilities.  

It’s enough to make our heads spin, our hearts ache, and our bodies wear down. 

Perhaps you’ve never thought of it before, but there was never a dull moment in the ministry of Jesus either.  He had an action-packed three years. 

However, one day, in particular, stands out above the rest.  

In one 24-hour period, Mark tells of Jesus teaching in the synagogue (Mark 1:21), exorcising a demon (Mark 1:26), healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:31), and ministering to a whole village of people late into the night (Mark 1:32). Now that sounds like a day that was anything but dull! No doubt, Jesus was completely exhausted as went to sleep that night. 

Yet, the next morning, “while it was still dark,” He woke up early to commune with His Heavenly Father       (Mark 1:35). If ever there was a morning where He deserved to sleep late, or at least hit the snooze button a few times, it was that morning. But for Jesus, talking to His Father privately was essential to sustaining public ministry.  

Luke tells us that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). So, this wasn’t a one-time thing. Jesus regularly sought to be alone with His Father. It was only in a place of solitude where His soul could be replenished from the day before and adequately prepared for the day ahead. For Jesus, prayer wasn’t an afterthought; it was His top priority.  

Let me confess: I’m deeply challenged by Jesus’ rhythm of private prayer. My own prayer life is marked by inconsistency and feelings of inadequacy.  And with three kids in school, my early mornings resemble a three-ring circus, complete with a car full of clowns and a parade of elephants.    

But here’s what I keep wrestling with: If prayer was essential to Jesus, the perfect Son of God, shouldn’t it be even more essential to us? To me?  

Absolutely. Positively. Without question. 

Who are we to think we can meet the relentless demands of our day without Him?

It’s time we stop using busyness as an excuse not to pray and start seeing it as a reason we need to pray.

You see, we were never meant to face the craziness of life on our own. And prayer is one of the primary ways we profess our total dependency on our Father, acknowledging that we can do absolutely “nothing without Him” (John 15:5). Granted, spending time in prayer won’t remove items from our ‘to-do lists.’ But it will empower us to face the various tasks and responsibilities on our plate. 

I’m reminded of the wise words of the missionary, Hudson Taylor,

“Do not have your concert first and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.” 

My friends, I fear that many of us, myself included, try to conduct the symphony of life with instruments that are badly out of tune. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to tune up.  

Listen, no one expects us to pray like Jesus or even Hudson Taylor overnight.

Let’s just focus on taking simple steps of progress:

Commit to spending two minutes in prayer each day.   

Aim to rise early three or four times a week to begin the day with the Lord. 

Turn down the radio/phone and pray during your commute to and from work.   

Whatever it is, your steps will look different than mine because we’re different people, but the same principle applies to each one of us. We will never move forward unless we take that critical first step. 

So, let’s take that first step together. Pray with me.

“Heavenly Father, I don’t know what lies ahead today, but most likely, there won’t be many dull moments. I rejoice that You are in control. 

I need Your strength, Lord. Help me to face the busyness and stress of this day with a Christ-like attitude. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”  

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH