“But he would withdraw to desolate places to pray.” In the midst of all the hurly burly of ministry, of a life that was supremely busy beyond our comprehension, of intense demands upon him, and pressure, infinite pressure, of being nothing less than the Savior of the World—with all this going on, and having just performed another miraculous healing, and people clamoring for more, yet more, of him and his time, Jesus does something quite extraordinary. He sets a pattern for his life that is counterintuitive, uncommon, and the secret of so much effective life and ministry in service of God.
“He would withdraw.” He was not always at the forefront, pushing. He stepped back. He could see the big picture. He could notice the patterns and direction of events, not just being someone caught up in events.
“To desolate places.” He found places where he would be undisturbed, unharried and unhurried, away from the madding crowd, and on his own, in quiet. Not always tweeting and social media engaging, but away, away from it all. Not to a nice hotel or fancy resort. But somewhere simple, even Spartan, the desert, the desolate places.
“To pray.” Ah here is the key! To pray. It was said by one of Winston Churchill’s most revered biographers (Manchester) that he could imagine Churchill as an effective preacher, but he could not imagine Churchill on his knees praying.
But there lies the power. The perspective. The presence of God.
Ask yourself this as you scan your schedule and your commitments this morning.
Am I busier than Jesus?
Do I have a more demanding job than saving the world?
Do I have more clamoring for my attention?
Am I as holy, or spiritually self-sufficient, as the God Incarnate Son of God?
Or, in other words, if Jesus prayed, so must we!
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