He departed to a mountain to pray. Mark 6:46
Jesus took prayer seriously. It was not an after thought but more a before thought. It was not a last option, it was the first option. There are many instances in the gospels where we see Jesus at prayer. In John 17 we see him pray that great high priestly prayer just before he was betrayed, forsaken and crucified. He also taught us, what we call the Lord’s prayer that gives us a pattern to follow in our daily lives.
When I see Jesus in prayer or teaching on prayer it spurs me on. It encourages me but also at the same time it makes me look at my own prayer life. I’ll be the first to hold my hands up, that sometimes after five mins in prayer my mind wanders or I have found it hard to shut out the distractions around me to concentrate on him in prayer. Especially when in Luke 6 I read these words “At about that same time he climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God.”
I read that and I think, Lord, teach me to pray!
As a follower of Jesus then prayer should matter, it should be everything. I so want to learn to pray like Jesus. I want for us as believers to learn to pray like Jesus. I believe every child of God, every follower of Jesus should be someone who is learning to pray. We never stop learning to pray. The best way to learn, is to do it.
I remember growing up listening to men and women pray and thinking, I can learn from them. I was going to every prayer meeting possible and learning from older believers. Its something I say to our young people in church, I would so love some Wednesday night to come to our prayer meeting and for it be hijacked by the lot of them in prayer. Sometimes I fear we are losing something today when we dilute our prayer meetings. We lose the presence of God, we lose the anointing of His Spirit. We lose out full-stop.
When I read about Jesus teaching on prayer it prompts me to just do it. Whether it is at home or at church or out on a prayer walk with the worship music blasting in your ears. God hears it. God answers.
In Matthew 6:6 Jesus teaches to pray alone and in simplicity. “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (The message)
I love that, “you will begin to sense his grace”. The one thing we need is his grace and the one place to experience it, in his presence in prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated, anyone can do it. You don’t have to have a degree in prayer, in quietness and confidence you can simply pray.
In Luke 11 verses 9-10 Jesus teaches us to ask for what we need “Here’s what I’m saying: Ask and you’ll get; Seek and you’ll find; Knock and the door will open. Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in.” (The message)
Ask and keep on asking
Seek and keep on seeking
Knock and keep on knocking
Be direct about your prayers, be specific.
In Luke 18 verse 1 he tells us to be persistent in prayer. “Jesus told them a story showing that it was necessary for them to pray consistently and never quit.” (The message)
Never Quit. Another version puts it to never lose heart.
Its so easy at times to give up on something especially when we feel or perceive it wont make any difference. I believe it is for this reason Jesus addresses this issue and says “Dont give up”
I love how Paul puts it in Colossions 4:2 “Be devoted to prayer” The word “devote” means to grab hold of something and not let go. To “devote” yourself to prayer means to hang on no matter what happens. You never give up on prayer even when it seems useless.
Pray when you feel like it, pray when you don’t feel like it. Pray when you believe in it, pray when you doubt it. Pray when your heart is filled with faith, pray when you do it by habit. Do you ever feel like giving up? Please “Keep at it!”
Next Jesus shows us there is power in prayer. Mark 11 versus 22-26 Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” (The message)
Our prayers can go further than we can, they go before the throne of grace and its there we can touch heaven with our prayers and heaven can touch us and the need around us. I have heard it said many times, prayer changes things and it does.
I finish this with the chapter where I started Mark 6:46 “And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.”
Sometimes you just have to make time for prayer. People often say I am too busy to pray, or I have no time to pray. Sometimes you just have to say no to somethings to talk to the Lord. Jesus sent them away. He got rid of the distractions. Turn the phone off, get off Facebook, twitter, TV or whatever it is that keeps you back from prayer and depart, not up a mountain necessarily but somewhere you can meet with God in prayer.
I promise you it will be the best thing you do all day, everyday.