The Challenge of Praying

Sometimes it is hard to get any praying done…you hardly have a chance to pray and someone is looking for you. In the previous verses, Jesus had risen early in the morning, walked alone to a quiet place and was praying there to his Father. But when his disciples get up, they start looking for him (Mark 1:36). No sooner are you being refreshed in the presence of God and here come your friends – demand, demand, demand. That’s how Simon frames it…everyone is looking for you.

I read a subtle jab from Simon in these words.
“Lord – what are you doing out here praying?”
“What do you mean by taking time for you to pray to your father.”
“Don’t you know there are pressing ministry demands here?”
“There are things to do, people to see”
Why is it that prayer is one of the first spiritual disciplines to fall off the list when there are things to do? Prayer seems to be an expendable practice. Is this not true in your life? You could read if you were called upon to do so. You could watch a DVD if that was required, you could visit with friends, catch a nap, go fishing, do just about anything. But pray? Sure, I’ll get to that – eventually.

But, prayer should not be optional. Prayer should not be expendable. Praying should not only happen when it is convenient. As you read through the life of Jesus in Mark, you are going to see that prayer was critical. Jesus carves out the time to pray. In fact, he will sometimes ignore pressing needs to get praying done. Not always. But often. Learn the lesson here. Don’t be a Simon. In Simon’s world people won out over prayer any day. Busyness with people won out over solitude with the father every time. But with Jesus prayer was a legitimate form of ministry, and an essential ingredient in successful ministry. Remember that sometimes, prayer is more needful than ministry to people!

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