December 14, 2017

Make Time to Pray

Doug Wright

Just before Jesus walked on water the disciples had participated in the “feeding of the 5000” in Bethsaida. When the bread and fish were eaten and the fragments gathered, Jesus “made his disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while he sent the multitude away” (Matt. 14:22). Jesus dismissed the disciples and multitudes around 6:00 P.M., and rejoined his disciples in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the “fourth watch” (between 3 and 6 A.M.). Most of us have spent a lot of time thinking about and hearing about Peter walking on the water in the middle of a storm.

However, Jesus intentionally isolated Himself from his disciples and from the multitudes for several hours. Matthew 14:22-23 and mark 6:45-46 both record Jesus’ purpose. Mark says, “and after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” Matthew says, “and after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” Jesus intentionally isolated Himself for the purpose of spending time in prayer.

Jesus actions point out several weaknesses we have in our theology and practice of prayer.

1. If spending time in prayer was important to Jesus, it ought to be doubly important to mortal humans. Jesus, the Son of God, prayed. When I fail to pray, I am in essence saying I am more self-sufficient than Jesus is. “Jesus could not succeed without prayer, but I can.”

2. You have to intentionally make time to pray. Jesus was a busy man! I have often allowed the business of life to displace prayer. Jesus knew he needed to pray and he orchestrated time to pray. Jesus stayed up late, maybe you should stay up late or get up early to pray.

3. Getting time alone is important to quality prayer time. An empty building in the early morning is much better praying ground than one where school kids are active, phones are ringing, and foot traffic is distracting you.

4. You have to pray even when there is work to do. Interestingly, Mark records in 6:47-48 that Jesus “was alone on the land. And seeing them straining . . .” The omniscient Lord knew His disciples needed help (were struggling), but he spent time praying before going to their aid.

5. Prayer prepares you to deal with people. As soon as Jesus left his prayer time, he was tasked to guide His disciples through a “middle of the night” storm. This was an opportunity to strengthen their faith and dispel their doubt (Matt. 14:31).

This one incident reminds readers of the importance of prayer in ministry. If you have prioritized other important things over prayer, perhaps now is the time to reorganize – take time to pray, but more importantly make time to pray.

Doug Wright is pastor of Keystone Baptist Church, Berryville, VA.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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