Solitude In The Morning
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there. and they found Him and said, “Everybody is looking for You!” Simon [Peter] and his companions searched [everywhere, looking anxiously] for Him,
It’s easy to think of Jesus life as very different from ours. We see Him in stained glass serenely holding a lamb, or we think of Him hanging out with His followers around a campfire. Ahh, the good life. But actually, the Gospels tell us that Jesus experienced incredible pressures. Everybody wanted a piece of Him. Sick people came to Him for healing, confused people asked for wisdom, and religious leaders wanted to kill Him. And we think we’ve got it rough!
Early in Mark’s account of Christ’s life, Peter and the other disciples searched frantically for Him early one morning. Where could He have gone? “Everyone,” an exasperated Peter told Jesus when he finally found Him, “is looking for You.” The people had enormous demands, and the disciples had equally high expectations of Jesus. At that point, they didn’t really understand that the Father had even higher goals for Jesus to die for all of us.
Under enormous pressure, Jesus opted for sanity. He got up very early and headed out to be by Himself so He could clear His head and pray. He could easily justify working twenty hours a day – so many sick people, so many lessons to be taught, and so many leaders to refute- but instead, He had a different priority. To keep on track with the Father’s plan, He had to spend time with the Father, pour out His heart, gain needed perspective, and get the game plan for the day.
Do you and I need those things less than Jesus did?
Prayer is the highest intelligence, the profoundest wisdom, the most vital, the most joyous, the most efficacious, the most powerful of all vocations.
E. M. Bounds
Most of us recognize that our natural bodies require certain things in order to thrive and grow. They need air to breathe, water to drink, nutritious food to eat, and sleep. The natural body can survive for a season if it’s deprived of these things but eventually deprivation will result in sickness and death. The average person can survive about six minutes without air, three days without water, three weeks without food and the record for sleep deprivation is around eleven days. There have been a few cases through training and with people who were incredibly healthy that have exceeded these time limits, but most of us are probably at or below the average.
But what about our spirits? How long can they survive without nourishment? I suppose one could say that like the human body, it would depend on how much energy is exerted, how stressful life may be, how engaged we are in spiritual warfare and how hard we are working in the harvest. As our work for God intensifies, our spirit will need more frequent and more nourishing replenishing.
Our scriptures today point out that Jesus thought it necessary to begin every day in prayer. He knew that the day would call for Him to expend His spiritual energy meeting the needs of those who came to Him. Like many of us, He could have reasoned that He had worked late and needed His sleep, things were going well and He had lots of things to do, besides all the ministry to the multitudes, He was also expending extra time training the disciples, and unlike us He could have said that since He was God, He didn’t need to engage in prayer.
Let us remember that since Jesus was the God who had created all things and had placed Himself into the flesh of humanity, He was all too aware of the needs and limits of the human spirit and body. And He is aware of our need so He modeled a life of prayer and taught us to pray so that our soul and spirit would thrive. While our bodies have built-in drives to live, we have to taught how to supply those needs. Every parent teaches their child to eat, drink, and sleep, sometimes even when they resist for the moment, because that parent knows they are necessary for survival. We make sure they are in a safe environment so they will be able to breathe, so we don’t let them play near water until they can swim or play with plastic bags. In the same way, the Holy Spirit prompts us to engage in the art of prayer so that our spirits will not sicken and die.
In spite of our technology and development, every human still needs the basics. And no matter how busy we are and how much we have on our plates, we need time in the presence of God. That’s the lesson we learn from Christ.
Have you ever wondered why Christ spent so much time in prayer? I think you and I know that we have so many failures and struggles, we face so much uncertainty and decisions that we lack wisdom to make, we are flawed and imperfect so it makes a lot of sense that we need to constantly come to God as needy people. But why did Christ? He never failed, sinned, lacked wisdom or direction and yet He began His day with prayer. Whatever we may think about prayer, one things for sure, if it was necessary in the life of Jesus, don’t we think it is in ours? Please don’t take this as some demand or pressure. Hear this invitation from your loving Father who longs to begin your day with you. Hear this from your Savior who longs to give you wisdom, understanding and direction. Hear this from the Holy Spirit who wishes your soul to be fed and your spirit to soar just like the parent who wishes their child to grow up strong and healthy. God, in the story of Creation came down each day and walked and talked with Adam and Eve. There is no idea of it being a formal meeting, rather it has the trademark of a meeting between friends. That’s what Jesus was teaching us. There can be no doubt that the meeting between Jesus and the Father wasn’t a formal one, but a meeting between a father and son. And that’s the meeting we’ve even invited to begin our day. God is waiting at the meeting place, this morning, won’t you join Him?
Dr. John Thompson