35 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. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
There is more than meets the eye in this handful of verses. We have a small window into the details of Jesus' prayer life that can be instructive for our own time of prayer. Four verbs describe Jesus actions to spend time with the Father. Each underscores that this time was sacred, set apart. Ironically, this comes on the heels of a busy day where Jesus healed many. Many of us would feel less inclined to get up early following such a day. But Jesus knows that the overflow of His relationship with the Father would be the wellspring of his ministry in the coming day.
Jesus removes himself from external noise and influences to find the stillness and quiet of being in the Father's presence. This early morning time leads directly to a clear decision about how he would spend his time and resources in the day ahead. Rather than returning to the crowds of the previous day, Jesus, counterintuitively decides to head the opposite direction.
Removing ourselves regularly from things that compete for our attention to be alone with the Father is the key to living our lives with purpose. It is in the quiet of God's shadow, that we remember why we are here. We remember that it is His agenda, not ours that moves us forward.
What keeps you from finding a regular time and place to be still and alone with the Father?
Father, I confess that I am moved far too often by the noise and chatter around me, seeking to live up to the expectations of others. In these moments, I rationalize that the pragmatic choice is the best choice. Teach me to bend my ear attentively to the stillness that persuades me otherwise.