by pastor david
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
Several years ago, I was teaching a class in a Bible Institute on the subject of prayer. I asked the class this question: “What should one do when he finds himself distracted during his prayer time?” An elderly gentleman, named Dale, who had participated very little during the previous lessons, spoke up immediately and without hesitation and said, “You should apologize to the Lord for being so rude”.
I have never forgotten that profound statement and the wisdom behind it. I am reminded of it often, as I am going about the daily practice of prayer. I often find myself apologizing to God for allowing my mind to wander away from my conversation with Him.
Let’s be honest. It is so very easy to be distracted during our prayer time, the result of which is disjointed, undisciplined, and often, unfinished prayers.
Why did Jesus rise “in the morning” a “long while before daylight”? Why did our Lord depart to “a solitary place”? Why did He choose to be apart, away, and alone during His private time with His Heavenly Father? Could it be that He knew that any other setting would be fraught with distractions.
Read through the Gospels and you will find Jesus withdrawing time and again, only to be interrupted by the clamoring crowds.
Let me ask you a few questions?
• Do you find yourself checking your email before you open your Bible in the morning?
• Do you have a number of conversations with people before you begin your morning conversation with God?
• If you get a text message during your prayer time, do you stop to read it?
• If, during your devotions, you remember something urgent you need to do, do you stop and finish your task before finishing your time alone with the Lord?
• What do you do when you get a phone call in the middle of your prayers?
• Does your family know when and where you will be spending time with the Lord?
The answers to the questions above will help you understand the many distractions that keep you from having the dynamic and effective prayer life you always wanted.
If we follow the example of our Lord Jesus, in Mark 1:35, we will apply several principles to our daily devotional time that will transform our prayer from mediocre to mighty.
1. Jesus had a specific time to pray.
(1:35a) “in the morning…a long while before daylight”
When do you pray? Apparently, morning is the best time to pray, according to Jesus.
• He asks for the first part of our week - the Lord’s Day.
• He asks for the first part of our income - our tithe.
• He asks for the first part of our day – the morning.
2. Jesus had a special place to pray.
(1:35b) “a solitary place”
The first thing He did when He arose each morning was to depart “to a solitary place” – away from the people He loved so much, away from the calling and ministry, away from everyone and everything except His Heavenly Father.
3. Jesus had a solemn reason to pray.
(1:35c) “there He prayed”
Jesus knew He would be unfit and ill-prepared for the task at hand, if He did not prepare Himself with this essential, spiritual exercise. Just look at the verses that follow. When His disciple found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for You” (1:37). His reply reveals the clarity for His ministry gained by that time alone with His Father; “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (1:38).
Oh, distractions! Each of us is plagued by them. However, if we follow the example of our Lord, we will better stay on task and enjoy the focused and fruitful time alone with the One who is more important to us than anyone or anything else on earth. I pray that we will all work hard at…
• Setting a specific time to pray
• Finding a special place to pray, and
• Having a solemn reason to pray.ay.
Pastor David Boggs
I hope these occasional posts will encourage and challenge you as we grow in Christ together.
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