Summary: A sermon urging a greater commitment to prayer, and ways that can be accomplished.
I want to fit it in. I want to make sure that prayer is vital in my life. But when? What about all those times I had good intentions and dropped the ball? What about those days where I was well into the day before I remembered that there were people I needed to pray for, items I needed to take to God for help? When will prayer finally start to look like the lifeblood of my relationship with God that I believe it is instead of the second thought that often gets left out?
This morning, I want to turn to the prayer life of Jesus for answers. I want to look at His life and see how to fit it in. The gospels give us glimpses of His prayer life that we can learn from, and I want you to look at 2 of those especially with me.
To fully appreciate these, you have to understand first that they’re both in the book of Mark. Mark is written especially for Roman readers. Life is rigorous and quick for them. So Mark is the gospel on caffeine! It’s like a drive-by teaching. It’s the shortest gospel. There is no birth narrative. It just starts out: here’s Jesus! Mark’s favorite word is “immediately” – 44x he uses it. In fact, it occurs a few times in the 2 texts we’re looking at here.
You also have to see these verses in the context of the ministry of Jesus to best appreciate what’s going on. The first is in chapter 1.
Jesus and His followers are in Capernaum. Jesus teaches in the synagogue and amazes everyone, but they’re especially amazed when he casts a demon out of a man. Right away, we see Jesus, James and John going to the house Peter and Andrew. Peter’s mother-in-law is sick, so Jesus heals her. She gets up and starts waiting on them. It might have been easier to just order out or something. But, you have to consider it has been a pretty full day for Jesus and the 4 disciples by this time.
When you come home from work, or school, or from volunteering, and you’re whipped, what do you like to do? It’s going to be different for all of us, but I’ll bet that words like television, iced tea, newspaper, video games, play with the dog, eat, and feet up resonate with most of us. Coming home to more work is hard! So what does Jesus do that evening?
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
OK, we’ve had evenings that turned out to be not very relaxing, right? Maybe most of yours sound like that. At least, once in a while, when things pile up like that, we can sleep-in a little bit, right? What does Jesus do?
(v35) 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. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!" Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
You might want to ask yourself, “When was the last time I was called down for sneaking off by myself to pray?” - when someone said to you, “Where have you been? We’ve been looking for you?!” and you said, “Oh, sorry, I was off by myself praying.”?
Now, from this time on, as Mark follows Jesus through His ministry, it’s crazy busy. He’ll end up teaching by the lake again, from a boat away from the shore, because the crowds were pressing in too much. After teaching, He’ll cross over the lake and fall asleep in the boat. A huge storm comes up. The waves are breaking over the edge of the boat, so it’s starting to fill up with water. The disciples are saying, “We’re gonna die! We’re gonna drown right here!” Jesus is so tired as He sleeps there, that He’s sleeping through the whole thing until the disciples wake Him up.
I just want you to note what Mark is showing us: Jesus is busy…beyond busy. He’s constantly chased by the crowds. And He’s tired – tired enough to sleep through the storm that would sink the boat He’s in. And Jesus prays.
There’s another snapshot in chapter 6. But first let me throw in