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February 27, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’”—Mark 1:35–38 (NIV)
Do you have a consistent morning routine? I know that for me, it tends to change depending on the season that I am in. Because I am currently in college, my morning routine often changes depending on what time my first class is, whether I have last minute homework to do, or if I am home on break. Sometimes my alarm is set for 6:30am, and sometimes it’s 9am. Sometimes I get ready for my day before eating breakfast, and sometimes eating is the first activity I do. I would love to say that every morning I wake up and spend considerable time in prayer and solitude, but I don’t always do that either. Looking at today’s passage, I am reminded of the importance of having a consistent morning routine regarding our spiritual disciplines!
Because these verses can easily be skipped or passed over, not many people realize how devoted Jesus was to spending time alone with His Father! This is not the only instance where we see Jesus intentionally spend time alone in the morning, or at some point in the day, with the Lord. There are accounts of this practice in all the gospels! He is seen retreating alone to pray after performing miracles (Luke 5:16; Matthew 14:23), before calling His disciples (Luke 6:12–13), and even just before he went to the cross (Matthew 26:39; John 17). Jesus evidently understood the necessity of nurturing His relationship with His Father and replenishing His soul with prayer, solitude, and truth!
Although Jesus was still completely God, He was also completely man and therefore needed to care for His soul health in similar ways as we need to. He found rest in the Father, but He also found strength to keep pursuing the mission and vision to see where the Spirit was leading Him to go! As a result, He never fell for the schemes of the enemy, He did not follow man but the Spirit, and He accomplished the work He came in obedience to the Father to do—to bring redemption, reconciliation, and true life in the kingdom of heaven (Hebrews 9:15; Luke 19:10; John 10:10).
This passage is extremely convicting, but thanks be to God that His Word “is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV). Let’s seek to set aside consistent time to be with God because when we prioritize solitude and prayer in our daily routine and habits, the same effects for our soul, strength, and vision will take root as well!
PAUSE: Do you prioritize spending time alone with the Lord regularly? If yes, then how can you work on making that time with Him more meaningful or intentional?
PRACTICE: Set aside at least 10 minutes today to be alone with God. Spend those 10 minutes only praying and listening (not reading), and try to incorporate that practice into your daily routine for the next week until it becomes a habit!
PRAY: Father, I am so sorry that I can easily fail or forget to spend time with You. I want to establish better disciplines like Jesus exemplified for us while on earth! Help me to dedicate at least 10 minutes of my day for the next few days to be intentionally alone with You. I want and need You to be the first priority in my life. Thank You for Your grace and for meeting us exactly where we are! Amen.