August 27, 2019 • Life for Leaders
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.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
In recent devotions, we have seen how Jesus remained faithful to his purpose, even when that meant disappointing the crowds who were clamoring for him. I have suggested that you and I need a similar focus on our main purpose(s) in life.
But how can we stay focused in this way? After all, we’re not Jesus. We aren’t the Son of God. Our minds and hearts are distorted by sin. Can we ever hope to know our purpose and stick to it?
To be sure, our sin does get in the way of our ability to know and do God’s will. But the example of Jesus points to something we can do to foster clearer communication with God. Mark 1:35 says that Jesus got up “very early in the morning” and “went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Jesus sensed that he needed some extended time alone with his Heavenly Father. No doubt, in this time Jesus received additional clarity and guidance with respect to his work. Because he had spent quality and quantity time alone with the Father, Jesus was able to reject the temptation to play to the crowds. He could stay focused on his purpose because he had taken time for prayer.
Prayer clarifies purpose. When we pray, especially when we are quiet enough to allow the Father to speak to us, we are able to know why he has put us on the earth and what he wants us to do next. Moreover, prayer enables us to focus on our purpose, rather than become distracted by all sorts of other causes and conditions. So, if we want to be able to live our lives with maximum impact, doing that to which God has called us, then we need, like Jesus, to spend time with our Heavenly Father. Though we may not be able to arise early and go to an isolated place, we need to get away from the distractions of life on a regular basis in order to quiet our hearts before God and be refreshed in our sense of God’s purpose for our lives.
Something to Think About:
Do you ever get away from the bustle of life in order to pray?
What are the things that keep you from being quiet before God?
What could you do in the next week in order to get quality and quantity time with your Heavenly Father?
Lord Jesus, your example in this passage both challenges me and encourages me. If you, of all people, needed to get away in order to spend time with the Father, how much more do I need to do this!
Forgive me, Lord, when I let the demands and distractions of this life keep me from prayer. Put within me a new desire to spend time with my Heavenly Father, and help me to act on this desire.
O Lord, may faithful prayer undergird and permeate my life, even today. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: How Rest is Restored – Sabbath & Jesus’ Redemption in the New Testament
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.