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. Mark 1:35
Jesus knew the importance of prayer. Even though He was the Word become flesh, even though He was the God-man, He knew the importance of prayer and it showed in His life. Mark records that at the beginning of one of His busiest days of ministry, Jesus got up early, while it was still dark, and went out into the desert to pray. If Jesus was desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit and He often sought the face of His Father in prayer, then how much more do we need to pray?
Too often we either make excuses or simply don’t realize that we are in a war. And because we have lost sight of the war that we are in, we are then prone to not pray. Or, we may say that we are too busy. I like this title to a book on prayer: Too Busy Not to Pray. We are too busy and life is too hectic not to pray. That seems to be what Jesus is teaching us in Mark 1:35. His theology of prayer coincided with his practice of prayer.
Tim Challies captures how I feel (and probably how you feel too)-
“As is the case with so many Christians I speak to, my theology of prayer is much stronger than my practice of prayer. I know so much of what the Bible says about the privilege, priority and practice of prayer, yet struggle mightily to pray fervently and consistently. Putting that theology into practice remains a daily battle.”
Prayer is a daily battle. And it is a daily battle precisely because we are in a battle. Our enemy does not want us to pray. But pray we must! As H.B. Charles, Jr. says-
“Prayer is our Christian duty. It is an expression of submission to God and dependence upon Him. For that matter, prayer is arguably the most objective measurement of our dependence upon God. Think of it this way. The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle. The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own.”
Ouch! Prayer is the most objective measurement of our dependence on God? That’s getting a little too close for my comfort! But it’s true. I don’t mean to “guilt” any of us into praying, but how much we pray does show how much we depend on God. Therefore, let’s become a church that increasingly connects the dots between our theology of prayer and our practice of prayer.