He went off to a deserted place and prayed

August 4, 2014

Dear brothers and sisters,

The good news today is from Mark 1:35-39.

Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

I am an introvert so at times it seems that everyone — family, friends, business colleague — wants something from me when I want time to myself. I withdraw into myself. The difference, it strikes me, between Jesus and me is that he withdraws to a quiet place to be with God, to pray, while I typically commune with myself. True, it helps me recharge my batteries, but I’m usually a little resentful to have to turn my attention away from myself to others. Jesus, on the other hand, was ready to face the demands from others because that was his purpose, his mission to minister to others, to bring them the good news.

I was just telling Darren this morning over coffee that I don’t spend much time in prayer, in communion with God. As a result, I have less energy to deal with others and I can easily let circumstances get me down. It’s because I’m trying to draw energy from within myself instead of from God who is the source of all energy. It’s only when I rely upon God’s power that I am able to overcome my demons — at least for a while.

Barclay writes, “Now Jesus knew well that he could not live without God; that if he was going to be forever giving out, he must be at least sometimes taking in; that if he was going to spend himself for others, he must ever and again summon spiritual reinforcements to his aid. He knew he could not live without prayer.” The gospels make it clear that Jesus routinely escaped to spend time alone with God in prayer. Barclay states, “It is human nature to try to put up the barriers and to have time and peace to oneself.” At least I’m not alone; I’m like all the rest of humankind. As always, Jesus modeled the way for me to live my life and prayer is probably the most fundamental lesson. As Barclay asks, “If prayer was necessary for Jesus, how much more must it be necessary for us?”

This seems to be a consistent and persistent message for me right now. As Darren said, it seems there is a desire for presence — the indwelling spirit of God calling me to be in communion with Him. So, I will go off to a deserted place and pray like Jesus.



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