Summary: Prioritize a place for prayer and preach in all places.
Praying and Preaching
Rev. Brian Bill
October 17-18, 2015
Introduction. Hold up a clear jar and say, “This jar represents our day.” [Pour sand into jar to depict the various things we fill our days with – eating, work, school, watching TV, time on Facebook, hanging with friends, sports, reading, etc.] When full put rocks on top.
Here’s our summary statement for the sermon today: Prioritize a place for prayer and preach in all places. We’re walking through the Gospel According to Mark. Grab your Bibles and turn to Mark 1:35-39. Let’s stand and read this passage together: “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. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.’ And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.”
I see four fundamentals of faith demonstrated in the life of Jesus that you and I can apply to our lives.
1. Start your day with prayer. As we learned last weekend, Jesus had a very busy Saturday. He cast out an unclean spirit during a worship service in the morning and in the afternoon, he healed Peter’s mother-in-law. At night, the whole city gathered in front of Peter’s house and Jesus healed many who were sick and cast out many demons. I imagine that He was exhausted and it would have made perfect sense for Him to sleep in.
But that’s not what happened according to verse 35: “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.” In the gospels we see Jesus praying some 25 times.
We see three things about Jesus’ prayer life from this passage.
• It was planned. The phrase “very early” means, “exceedingly early.” The time reference that Mark uses places this time of prayer during the fourth watch of the night, which was between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. There’s precedent for early morning prayers in many other passages of Scripture. Psalm 5:3 says, “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice.” Psalm 119:147: “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.” Isaiah 50:4-5 says, “Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” When we pray early we get our marching orders for our day.
• It was private. Notice that Jesus found a private place to pray. The word “desolate” is the same word used for the wilderness and means, “lonely and deserted.” Luke 5:16 says, “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Do you have a private place for prayer? Jesus encourages us to find one in Matthew 6:6: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Have you seen the War Room yet? The main point of the movie is that we’re called to do battle in prayer and that we should find a private place to do that.
• It was prolonged. The tense of the phrase, “and there he prayed” means that He “continued in prayer.” Luke 6:12 tells us that at times Jesus would pray all night long. This axiom is helpful: “Little prayer, little blessing. Some prayer, some blessing. Much prayer, much blessing.”
Have you heard the expression, “Don’t just sit there, do something?” Some of us need to hear that because we’re just sitting around. But most of us need to hear a twist on this phrase, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” BTW, one of our ABF classes has started a prayer time on Tuesday nights at 6:00 p.m. here in our facility and they’d love to have you join them.
Listen. Since the Lord Jesus Christ needed to pray, how much more do we? In John 5:19 Jesus declared His dependence on the Father, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord…” Here’s a truth that has helped me over the years: “Prayer is not about getting my will done in Heaven, but about getting God’s will done on earth.”
Perhaps you think you’re too busy to pray. To borrow the title of a very helpful book, you’re too busy to not pray! D.L. Moody once said, “We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.” If he were alive today, he might add, “We ought to see the face of God before we see Facebook.” Here’s a challenge. Before checking your Facebook feed, put your face in God’s book.