After this miracle, the news about Jesus spread even farther. Massive crowds continually gathered to hear him speak and to be healed from their illnesses. But Jesus often slipped away from them and went into the wilderness to pray.
There have often been times in my life when my schedule and my social obligations have kept me running from sun up to sun down. My days fill up with all sorts of things – from dentist appointments and work events to birthday parties and baby showers. Some of those things I enjoy and some drain me, but all tend to add to a feeling of being overwhelmed when there is little or no margin in my schedule. In my exhaustion, the phrase, “I am done peopling for a while” has come out of my mouth on more than one occasion, expressing my need for a little solitude.
Today we read of yet another account of the massive crowds that pressed in from all the surrounding areas to hear Jesus and to be healed by Him. Spending your days teaching people about who God really is and healing people are good things! Things that I am sure brought Jesus joy. But I can’t help but think that there were times when He was just plain exhausted, too. Jesus needed margin as well and He found it by slipping off by himself to pray regularly.
Prayer is a pretty powerful thing. It changes our audience drastically and allows us to focus on talking to and hearing from ONLY God. The noises from the hustle and bustle of life are able to subside when we step into God’s presence through times of prayer. Prayer can take on so many different forms. Sometimes we need the ability to pour out our hearts to God in prayers of lament. Sometimes we need to seek God on behalf of another. Sometimes we need only to be quiet in His presence and allow Him to speak and fill us. Take some time today to follow Jesus’ example. Slip away from the noise – maybe even try something new; go for a walk and let nature usher you into His presence. Sing a worship song, personalize some scripture as a prayer, or just be quiet and listen for God’s leading. How you do it, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you see the importance of spending time with God today…and everyday, so that you can disengage with the crazy world we live in and refocus on the God who loves you.