Priority of Prayer in the Hectic

Focus 40 Day 37

“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 NIV

This morning in the life of Jesus came after what must have been an extremely hectic day. He had
been teaching in the synagogue with such authority that the people were “amazed” (see Mark 1:22,
27). When his teaching was interrupted by a man with an “evil spirit,” Jesus again amazed the people
by commanding the evil spirit to leave the man and restored him to wholeness. Leaving the
synagogue, Jesus visited the home of Simon and Andrew, where he cured Simon’s mother-in-law of
a high fever. After sunset, all the people in the surrounding area who were physically, emotionally
and spiritually sick were brought to him, and with the whole town gathered at the door (v 33 NIV), he
healed many and drove the demons out of many people.

How could Jesus keep up this rigorous schedule? The next morning, after that full, hectic,
demanding, emotion-packed day, “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 NIV). It doesn’t make sense. Jesus knows that
this day will be at least as full and hectic as the day before. He knows many demands will be made
upon him. He knows the crowds of people will be pressing in on him with such force that he will no
longer be able to enter a town openly (v 45). He knows wherever he goes, people will be calling his
name, reaching out to touch him, begging for his help. He knows the Scribes and Pharisees will be
there criticizing, questioning his teaching, doubting his motives, stirring up trouble, trying to confuse
and distract him, and attempting to humiliate him. He knows even his own disciples will often
misunderstand him and attempt to get him to do things their way instead of his. (Do you ever have a
day like this?)

Therefore, in the face of such a demanding schedule and so many clamoring people, how
can Jesus eke out a time for solitude and prayer? Because he knew there was no way he could
accomplish all of the things he had to get done unless he made time to pray!

It is true: most of us live with such hectic, demanding schedules that we feel we can never
accomplish all we need to do. Learn a lesson from our Lord. Like him, we stand in need of prayer,
moment by moment. Even if it means rising earlier, time spent in prayer will enable us to
accomplish his plans throughout the day with surprising skill, energy, and efficiency.
In the midst of a heavy, hectic, hurried, demanding schedule, Jesus made time to pray. It was
his source of power from God for men. If Jesus placed such a premium on the value and power of
prayer—Jesus, who is God’s only unique Son, who is God himself—how can I, a mere follower, do
any less? What is my source of power for living victoriously by faith? My fabulous talents, amazing
gifts, great abilities? No, my source of power for victorious living and for touching other persons is
my relationship with my God through prayer.

Lord, please give me the intentionality and discipline to follow you in making prayer a consistent priority in my life and
ministries. Like you, in the middle of the hectic, help me make time for solitude and prayer that will connect you and
your unlimited resources with the hurting, broken people who need your unconditional love and amazing grace. Amen.

– Dr. Sam Bruce, President, Sam & Sandie Bruce Ministries; Pastor, Hope Point Church, Pearl,
Mississippi; Online Instructor, Mid-America Christian University

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