February 16, 2019
There was a habit that Jesus seemed to have acquired. We see it multiple places in Scripture, but it is most clearly seen in Mark 1:35:
In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
Notice each important phrase.
"In the early morning, while it was still dark"
This practice did not occur when others were up, but before the day began … before other people or circumstances demanded his attention. Only here and only then could He get what was needed.
"Jesus got up"
Perhaps no phrase is more important. When the Father called Him, He obeyed. He got up. How many tens of thousands of believers and how many millions of times when called by God has this encounter with God been aborted simple because we will not get up.
This is physical. This is about surrendering our bodies as a “living sacrifice … which is our reasonable service of worship” (Romans 12:1). We think a few hours of sleep are more valuable to us than an encounter with God, preparing us for others and for the day's ministry ahead. No practical step of our day is more vital.
"left the house and went away to a secluded place"
There is something necessary about seclusion. Jesus left His natural surroundings to find a spot where He could enjoy uninterrupted communion with His Father. It was necessary for Him to accomplish the purposes of these hours, and it is necessary for us. These gained here could not have happened in the crowd.
"and was praying there"
This was the goal. This was the activity of this early morning habit. He went to commune with God. To talk with God and to be in a posture and environment where God could have Christ's undivided attention. No doubt this was where Christ was encouraged, where He received the Father’s word, where He gained insight and empowerment that He would need throughout the day; where He simply delighted in the Father at whose right hand there is “fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). This was the source; the power hub of His life and ministry.
If this was Christ's necessary habit, how could it be any less for us? Why would we not rise when God calls, get up and go to a secluded place, and pray there?
And why not this week? And the rest of our lives?
March 19, 2019
Bill, you’ve decribed my morning routine which began after the loss of our son 10/30/18. I chose to build in an early 1- 1 1/2 hours which takes discipline but so worth the investment. Enjoying your book about prayer without intermission also. Thanks for sharing your spiritual gift through your writings.
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