Summary: Practical steps to praying as a church
Practical Steps to give ourselves to prayer
Moving Ahead Together, Part 7
October 17, 2004
NIV Mark 1:35 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.
Today want to look at one incident in the gospel of Mark that gives us a glimpse into the prayer life of Jesus. I want us to open a window if you will into his life and gather some principles that can guide our prayer lives.
He had a plan
Literally early while it was still night he got up and went. It was still dark because he knew he had to get away before he would be distracted and interrupted. JE said that Jesus rose from the dead early as a principle that we should rise up early to meet him! But if his mercies are new every morning and we need resources for the day, then it only logical that we get up to meet him and prepare ourselves spiritually for the day. He had a plan and he followed his plan. He prepared beforehand. Fail to plan for your prayer life then plan to fail in your prayer life. There is no way around that reality. Prayer is not hit or miss, haphazard, nor is it is peripheral to life. Prayer is as critical to your spiritual life as breathing is to your natural life. If you want an effective prayer life then you need to make a plan and follow the plan. Jesus did not just awake spontaneously and think it would be good to pray. He had a plan and that plan was to have a time for prayer before his day crowded prayer out of his life.
Making a plan requires discipline. Jesus was disciplined. Discipline is the ability to say no to one thing for something better. Discipline is not getting up on time it is going to bed on time. Discipline involves planning and prioritizing so that what you want to happen happens. It is having foresight so that you will accomplish what you need to accomplish in life. When we say we do not have time to do something, what we mean is that I do not value it enough to change my schedule so that I can do it. i.e. DL; VK; Fasting
He was strategic in his plan – he left early in the morning, while it was still dark. Why? Because no one would be awake. He had a plan and he followed the plan.
Practical steps – make a plan: Set a time to pray when you will not be distracted, interrupted by others or your day. Then work backwards. If you need to get up early, then go to bed earlier. Take a pen and pad so that distractive thoughts that come to mind can be written down. If you need a structure – ACTS; prayer card; add your own; concentric circles.
Jesus had a plan and he had a place.
He had a place
He went to the desert, a solitary place. Why did he go to a solitary place? – there were no interruptions! He went to a place that he would not be interrupted by people who wanted his time and attention. Not only did he get up early he left the house because everyone would be getting up and interrupting him. You not only need a time, you need a place. Make a place and let everyone one know that this is a sacred place – If you have no place, use a closet or your car or walk. Place should not be on your bed. If you pray on your bed on your back, you are doomed to fail. When I was a young Christian I used to lie on my back and pray but most of the time I would fall asleep.
Practical steps – Set up a place in your home where you can go and not be distracted. When finding a place make it so that you can remain alert. Why I walk or kneel. I do not get too comfortable. Fail to plan and plan to fail. You should only have your bible, devotional book, notepad, etc.
He had a priority
Before he did anything else that day, he went to prayer. Why? He needed spiritual resources for the day. As the man Jesus he trusted the father, was endowed with the spirit for life and ministry (at his baptism), and walked in the power of the spirit. But as a man, it was by the power of the spirit. He prioritized prayer was because he needed spiritual power. So He went to pray.