Jesus often withdrew into lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16)
Every true Christian should have a prayer life; a time to have a one-on-one encounter with the Master, our Lord and Saviour. We do so because we have come to realise that we are not self-energised and that we need our daily rations of energy to see us through the day. It is like we need to have our batteries charged at the start of the day to be able to live through every single moment otherwise we would be walking in our own strength, in our own ability and that would not be a wise move. We do not have the slightest inkling what awaits us in the arena of life. We do not have a clue what challenges will disembark on us with full force at any given day.
We cannot on a daily basis foresee what will happen to us – living in this evil and wicked world. Therefore, we need to take a pre-emptive stand. Take time out to ward off every plan the devil has set up for us, to harm us. The devil, whose agenda is to kill, steal and destroy, (John 10:10) will not spare us. Our defence lies in the coverage and assurance we receive from God to face any danger, mishap or fiery dart that the enemy would launch at us.
Taking our cue from our Lord Jesus Christ, we do not only need to pray daily; we need to discipline ourselves to rise up early in order to see the Father’s face, to enquire of Him what He wants us to accomplish for that particular day. We need to spend quality time in the Father’s presence listening to Him and speaking to Him. It will be time well spent.
We read that “... Jesus often withdrew into lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16) -- away from the din and bustle of this world; away from any distraction even from within the family. The only time we can achieve this is when the rest of the family is still fast asleep, the mobile telephone tucked away out of sight. For no sooner dawn breaks that it becomes literally impossible to fully concentrate in prayer.
“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.” (Mark 1:35)
One on One
Whilst prayer can be done corporately or in small groups, there is something special about ‘solitary prayer’ – you alone with your Father. Not even your spouse. Our Lord Jesus gave us this formula: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6) “... Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (Luke 6:12)
The simplest definition of prayer is ‘talking to God.’ Sometimes we will cry or shout unto Him, lay our anxieties at His feet. At other times, we may plead with Him for His intervention. It is not about how hard we pray, but how often we engage in a dialogue with the Father. It is neither about presenting God with a shopping list nor about assaulting Him with a litany of woes. Oh no! We cherish a quiet time with the Father to receive just one word from Him – a word for the moment or for the circumstances.
We need a word of assurance to soothe our wounds; a word of comfort whenever we tread the path of adversity. To be governed by the mind of Christ. We must have a listening ear. The Bible says that before we open out mouths God knows what is in our hearts. “For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)
“And when you pray, do not do like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men, I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” (Matthew 6:5)
The Mind of Christ
Anyone who sincerely seeks the face of The Father can do so only by prayer. No matter the number of times we make our appeals to God, He is always there to listen to us. He can never be weary of listening to our prayers. How could He when He neither slumbers nor sleeps? Though prayer may seem like a beaten track, it is indispensable as a medium to keep in touch with God.
We cannot overly underline the importance of prayer as a tool for understanding the things of God. Some people use it to try and manipulate God to grant them their wishes rather than their needs. From whatever angle you perceive prayer, we must remember that God sees our hearts; nothing is hidden from Him. What we say or have not said, He is fully aware of.
God is not like a water dispenser or an ATM machine. He is not a ‘Gimme! Gimme!’ God either. Nothing can separate us from His love but there are a lot of benefits when we nurture a relation with Him – not from time to time, nor on a needs-basis – but rather continually. God is our Father who loves us in spite of what we might think or do. He wants His relationship with His Children to grow and the platform will be on a firm ground.
I do not know where your relationship is with the Father - whether close or distant? He is looking out for you to return to Him. Return to Him in the secret place. Just as a plant’s roots are watered for growth, we also must be rooted in Christ. Abide in me and I in you. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, [then and only then] can you ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you.” (John 15:7)
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer.”