Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 15 October 2014

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. Mark 1, verse 35.

Something I’ve mentioned here before is how the pastor at my church, Mark Schaefer, periodically advocates to the congregation that we should each take 5 minutes with God every day.   Every year he leads Spoke Folk mission trips with high schoolers and this is one of the practical faith activities they do while on mission. Spend five minutes alone with God, without anyone else around, listening to him.   Clear your mind and just listen to God. Maybe prayers will come to mind, or calm confession, or imploring him on behalf of others. Whatever you do in that time, just take five minutes every day for time with just you and God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”   That’s Psalm 46. It’s the basis for my friend’s five minutes activity. No doubt, it was one of the things Jesus had in mind when He would get up early in the morning, while it was still dark, left the house and went off to a quiet, alone place to pray.   What did Jesus pray, or pray for?   We’ll never know. Did He pray to Himself (being the Son of the indivisible triune God)?   Did He pray for others?   Jesus was fully man and fully God, both at the same time.   What did He pray for and why did He need to pray?

Truthfully, we may never know; to us, the content might not really matter.   The lesson does, though, and for a few reasons.

Jesus was fully man.   He fully needed communion with the Father through prayer.   It was a physical as well as emotional and spiritual need. As a human, Jesus felt the need to turn His concerns, His ailments, His thoughts, His praises over to the Three in One who could tackle them.   Jesus understood it was something we needed to do, as well as something He wanted to do.   In this respect, we’re no different from Him.

He taught us that we are praying to God the Father.   Would you pray to yourself?   Again, truthfully, we may never know nor fully understand the mystery of the Trinity.   Was Jesus praying to Himself?   I think not; it could have been construed as vain.   No, I think He was praying to the Father, knowing the Father listens and is active.   It tells us that, when we pray, we’re praying to the listening active Father as well. That’s good news.

He modeled how we should pray.   Where, in the Lord’s Prayer, He modeled what we should pray, here in Mark He models how we should do it.   Go.   Be in a private place.   Assume a reverent posture, both physical and emotional. Get to a quiet place where you can clear your mind, where you can open up to Him.   By ‘going’ we make it a discipline, setting aside something personal but special for God and ourselves.

All by taking just five minutes to be still and know He is God. Just like Jesus did. We NEED to do the same.

My God, I pray to You, praising You for Your love, forgiveness, creation, and the life You’ve given to me.   I’m sorry for the bad things I’ve done.   I’m thankful for all the blessings You give.   I’m concerned for others; please help…

Read Psalm 46, verse 10, Matthew 14, verse 23, Luke 4, verse 32, and Luke 9, verse 18.

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