Dear God, I wait for You and listen for You now. Be with me and speak to me, I pray.
Read Mark 1:35-39
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Reflect prayerfully on how God wants to be deeply involved in your life today. What is his invitation to you in the circumstances you’ll face?
Jesus had been busy all day, meeting people at their extreme point of need. He started out in Capernaum’s synagogue, which was followed by a visit to Simon’s home, and finally a long evening of engaging with a large crowd of people clamoring for his attention and direct healing intervention. It was a physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining day (5:30) after which most of us would want to go to bed for a long rest! Instead, we find Jesus up long before dawn in an isolated place spending time in prayer. This happens again at crucial stages in his ministry (6:46; 14:32-42).
The verb used for the disciples’ search indicates anxiety and impatience. Jesus’ local popularity was growing, as was the demand for his ministry, so why was he hiding away on his own? Even more puzzling was his response of moving away from the crowds. The disciples’ attitude is understandable. There is a buzz, energy and momentum that come with such an exciting sequence of events. And besides that, if his authority and influence were to grow he needed to make himself fully available to the people.
Although most Christians aren’t likely to find their days packed with crowds clamoring for their attention or be engaged in performing a steady stream of healing and deliverance miracles, there is much to learn from this story. Jesus was fully God but he was also fully human and, as such, he needed to bring his experiences to God to find rest, fresh energy, and direction for the way ahead. Our world may seem very remote from his, but the unrelenting pressure of people’s demands that he daily faced is not that far from the experience of the stressed-out church leader, business executive, or schoolteacher (to name but a few!).
Pray for those you know experiencing particular stress, especially your pastor(s). Consider how you can best ensure that a rhythm of prayer fuels your everyday life, too.
Lord, I need to arrange my life according to Your plan. Help me order my life for spiritual transformation.