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Prayer was vital for Jesus

February 2, 2022

Daily Scripture

Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16; Luke 11:1

Mark 1:35

35 Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer.

Matthew 14:23

23 When he sent them away, he went up onto a mountain by himself to pray.

Luke 5:16

16 But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer.

Luke 11:1

Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus prayed—often. Sometimes we treat prayer as only a way to tell God about what we want (often we seem to assume God won’t know about that unless we tell him). Jesus even mentioned one reason some people give for not praying—“your Father knows what you need before you ask.” But that didn’t stop him—right after that, in Matthew 6:8-13, he taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer.

  • In these gospel descriptions of Jesus at prayer, what do you notice about the timing, the settings in which he chose to pray, or the frequency or intensity of Jesus’ prayers? When do you pray? Where? How often? Are there one or two changes in your patterns of prayer that might bring you closer to the way Jesus prayed?
  • If prayer isn’t just to fill God in on your needs and worries, and the solutions you want, what is it for? How do you respond to the idea that prayer, often, is less about changing God and more about changing yourself? Phillip Yancey wrote, “The simplest answer to the question ‘Why pray?’ is ‘Because Jesus did.’” * Is regular communication vital to other important relationships you have? If Jesus needed to pray, why would any of us think we don’t?

Lord Jesus, it doesn’t make sense to say I love someone, and then never talk to them. Thank you for always listening when I pray, and for sometimes speaking in the depths of my heart and mind. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Kari Burgess

Kari Burgess

Kari joined staff in 2012 after several years in the corporate world and served 9 years on the ShareChurch Ministry Team before moving into her current role as a Creative Project Manager on the Resurrection Experience Team.

She married her college sweetheart, Matt, in 1996 and together they love spending time with their two daughters and supporting them in their music, theater, social and academic adventures. Kari enjoys running with her neighborhood “crew” and hiking.

Jesus often went off by himself to find a quiet place to pray. When I think about all the people who wanted to be around Jesus, hanging on his every word with the crowd pushing in on him, the introverted part of me can relate!

After a long day of interacting with the world, I often need time to just be still. Without the clutter of conversation, over-stimulation, commotion or tasks beckoning me. I need to be in a quiet room alone or, even better, out in nature to center myself.

But Jesus didn’t retreat just to be by himself. He retreated so he could pray. So he could have his alone time with God-–a one-on-one conversation, in a quiet place.

Recently, scrolling through social media, I came across a saying which gave me pause and made me think. It said, “Prayer is not to inform God, but to invite God.” God doesn’t need me to tell him about my day, about my concerns or to ask for what I want for myself or others. I need prayer time to invite God to the conversation.

I need to invite him to speak into my life and any concerns or problems I am trying to work out. I can easily stew over an issue, replaying a conversation in my mind over and over, or even think about what I want to say to someone (scripting). But when I actually PRAY about it instead of circling around in my own thoughts, I’m then inviting the Holy Spirit to intercede. The next right thing to do tends to become clear. Prayer calms me and keeps my brain from racing around and puts me in a better place of discernment. Prayer helps me move forward with the confidence that I am following God’s will and not my own. The challenging part for me is making the time to find a quiet place and truly engage in prayer. I’ve put the saying up on my mirror, so I see it every morning as a reminder to invite God into a conversation.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Phillip Yancey, Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006, p. 78.