“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
People are always looking an easy steps to success. To some it may be a “hidden code”, the “secret recipe” or the proverbial “secret sauce”. In reality, there are no quick-fixes. Good things may come to those who wait . . . but, while they’re waiting they work their backsides off. They pay the price. Doing the little things well makes the big things work.
In Mark, chapter one, Jesus had just begun His public and profound ministry. He was making a difference. He was doing something big. Mark tells us, “That evening at sundown they brought to Him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And He healed many . . .” (Mark 1:32-34 ESV). Notice the words . . . “all who were sick or oppressed” and “the whole city”. Jesus drew a needy crowd . . . and, He met their needs.
That kind of day would cause many of us to take the next day off. Exhaustion often leads to escape. The next verse uncovers the little thing that Jesus did well . . . the thing that helped Him refocus and replenish . . . He found time with His Heavenly Father.
Sacrifice. Mark tells us, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark.” Before the daily demands, Jesus determined His direction. Getting up before dawn was a sacrifice worth making. The psalmist wrote, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 63:1 ESV). It’s not so much a “specific” time . . . but a “sacred” time. It’s a time that we will give up anything for and not give up for anything for it.
Solitude. Mark continues, “He departed and went out to a desolate place”. Although it’s inference is subtle, it is significant. Jesus separated Himself from the disciples, the people who needed His attention and those He helped so He could be alone. The distractions in life can detour or derail us from our desired destination. Jesus reminds us, “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matt 6:6 NLT) There are times when we abandon ourselves to God, alone. No one else can help and He is our only hope.
Supplication. Mark writes, “and there He prayed.” The priority (sacrifice) and the place (solitude) are needed . . . but, the prayer (supplication) is necessary. Luke, the follower who was a physician reminds us, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” (Luke 5:16 NLT). When Jesus withdrew . . . He worshipped. It’s easier for us to review and plan than to rest in His presence and praise Him. Paul encourages us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV)
Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian whose family helped Jews escape the Nazi’s wrote, “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man (or woman) is powerful on his knees. ”
So here’s the secret . . . make it a priority to find a place and pray. It’s a family recipe written from the Father, Himself.