Take Time to Pray

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve–designating them apostles–that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.(Mark 3:13-19)

In the account of this same incident in the Gospel of Luke we discover the reason our Lord went up on the mountainside–to pray!

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)

Prayer was Jesus’ holy habit–early in the morning, late at night, and all through the night, through his life on earth we see Jesus taking time to talk to His Father.

“Our attitude of surrender and dependence upon God is best evidenced by our prayer life.” -Chip Ingram
Spending time alone with God, Jesus was not out to impress men, rather He desired communion, direction, and strength from His Father. I am reminded of our Jesus’ Words in the Sermon on the Mount:

“And when you pray, do not be 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. 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 6:5-6)

Prayer was never meant to be a liturgical performance whereby one sets out to eloquently espouse religious jargon for the benefit of man’s ears. Prayer is conversation and communion with the I AM, the great Creator God! When we forgo this privilege we end up wandering around in fog. We are the losers when we pursue our own imaginations, rather than listening for God’s still small voice for direction, power, and timing.

“A prayerless soul is a Christless soul.” -Charles Spurgeon

God intended from the beginning that we would be in a relationship with Him. From Adam on it was God’s desire and design for man to walk with Him in holy communion. When our first father failed, God cried out to him in the Garden, “Where are you” (even though God knew, he wanted Adam to answer Him). God always presses us to confess and repent of our wrong doings for our own good. The worst possible place for anyone to find themselves is outside of God’s perfect and pleasing will. Unfortunately, many of us do find ourselves in precisely that place due to our prayerless, rushing ways. We are to wait upon the Lord for His guidance.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Take It to Heart

This is why we must take time to pray. Not just over monumental things–like the selection of the twelve–but over everything else as well. God delights in hearing us talk to Him!

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” -Samuel Chadwick

Amy Carmichael’s short prayers are a great model for us:

“Your patience Lord.”

“Your peace Lord.”

“Your grace Lord.”

“Your kindness Lord.”

“Your joy Lord.”

“Your goodness Lord.”

“Your direction Lord.”

Pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)