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 ESV
And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray
Mark 6:46 ESV
And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone – Matthew 14:23 ESV
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” – Matthew 26:36 ESV
It has always been intriguing to me that Jesus took time to pray. Why does the Son need to take time out to pray to His Father? Would it not make sense to assume that Jesus should always be connected to the Father? But why did He take separate time to be alone, for indefinite periods of time to pray. If anyone could get away without a segmented prayer life it would be Jesus. Certainly, He could adlib and ad hoc prayer in and out of all the events of the day without missing a beat. That is the mode of prayer for most people today – I pray throughout the day, during all the things that unfold in my life. Why do I need to create a separate time to get alone with God?
It may be too trite to simply say, “Jesus did it so should we”. But any reasonable Christian ought to at least ask the question – if Jesus chose to do it why do I not do this? Remember that Jesus gave up the self-directed use of His divine attributes to live life the way we have to live it; He lived His life by the leading and empowering of the indwelling Spirit. There is the obvious problem that apparently Jesus saw the need for this far beyond our conviction. We all have our own repertoire of reason why we don’t have the time for such things, as nice as that would be to have time, that won’t work. I personally believe that we simply do not “get it” the way Jesus did. We all have a certain level of faith but the nature of the gap between what God’s Word says we ought to be and where we live is the operation of faith.
One of the reasons is the idea of being alone with God. If I think about my own situation. The reason Barb and I take any kind of vacation is to get away from the normal stuff and busyness of life to slow down, evaluate and reestablish our spiritual compass.
Second, I believe that our passion for Christ can be measured by how we value our identity in Him. The more we understand the lavish grace of God to make us children of God, the more we will desire to be deeply rooted in Him, especially through the direct access of prayer. If we lose touch with this truth, the more prayer will be more of an exercise than meaningful relationship.
Third, both the desire for God and the fullness of His presence is anchored in prayer. One of the most critical element of our love for God is intimacy. Intimacy is sensing the closeness of God’s presence and, as Jesus stated it, to abide in Him. Abiding is absolutely indispensable for the Christian; Jesus clearly stated that if we do not abide in Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). One of the great provisions of God to pursue intimacy is prayer. Without prayer on the cutting edge of our walk with God.
For your consideration,