V 46. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
How often in the stories of Jesus we find Him giving time to pray. Mark’s Gospel has a kind of breathless haste about it. It portrays Jesus as always moving on from place to place and incident to incident. There is little account of detailed teaching such as the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel. We quickly gather just how busy Jesus often was and how the crowds followed Him and gave Him little time to Himself but He was never too busy to pray.
If you had to choose a short phrase to describe the age in which we now live you might just say ‘Always in a hurry’. Whether you are thinking about the speeding traffic on the motorway, commuters on the underground, or shoppers at the Sales, Hurry .. Hurry is the watchword. With all the crowds pursuing Him you might well think the same about Jesus – but not so. For sure, He was a man on a mission, but the story never conveys a sense of undue haste. Mark notes these precious times of withdrawal, of quiet intimacy with His heavenly Father. These must have been moments of listening to what the Father was saying, of submitting to His will, and of renewing for the ministry to which He had been called. He was able to leave behind the pressures of the moment and focus on the Father’s big plan of salvation.
What do quiet times of prayer look like in your life? Do you actually pause to enjoy the presence of your Father God? It is not wrong to bring all your present troubles into these times, but it is right to drop the burdens down and acknowledge that your Father cares for you through them. Perhaps, like me, you find it difficult to be still for a time and so become more intent on the shopping list of prayer requests that comes into your mind. Learn to pray about these needs and then let them go so that you can focus on the Father. He is the One who does so much more than solve our problems; it is not a problem-solver we need, but rather a loving Father Who holds our hand and walks through life with us. Prayer is an encounter with this loving Father in which we find ourselves so closely attached to Him that we enjoy walking with Him through the difficult times we find.
Jesus had just that experience of walking with and trusting His Father. So He finds any opportunity to leave everything behind and spend time communing with His Father. He was a Man who prayed like no other.