1 John 5:5-13
Psalm 147:12-15, 19-20
He would withdraw to deserted places to pray. (Luke 5:16)
Whenever the pope visits a foreign land, multitudes throng the site for hours, even days before he arrives. Thousands line the streets and swarm his vehicle to get a glimpse of him. So when we read in Scripture that “great crowds” gathered to hear Jesus preach and to be healed (Luke 5:15), we have some idea of how hard it was for him to move about, let alone continue to hear clearly from his Father in heaven! So how did Jesus remain peaceful, calm, and assured of God’s will among the teeming throng?
The answer is prayer. When word spread that Jesus had healed a man with leprosy, and the crowds swarmed him, he withdrew “to deserted places to pray” (Luke 5:16). Prayer—intimate, refreshing, reassuring prayer—was the foundation to all he did. It enabled him to know when to minister and when to withdraw, when to rebuke and when to comfort. Prayer renewed Jesus’ strength, soothed and refreshed his spirit, and imbued his heart with confidence. Above all, it kept him in touch with his Father’s unshakable love.
Here is what is so encouraging about Christianity: the close, personal, life-giving prayer that Jesus experienced is possible for all of us! What’s more, God is eager for it. He loves it when we go to him with our needs. He delights in speaking to us personally, whether he is giving us guidance, teaching us about himself, or moving us into new ways of serving him. In grief or rejoicing, fear or thanksgiving, guilt or uncertainty, we are always welcome to turn to our Father.
Prayer is meant to be as easy as speaking to our best friend. Whenever we speak to God, he is ready to respond to us. Perhaps a line from Scripture will come to mind, or we will see a recent situation in a new light or feel a sense of peace in the silence of our hearts. As we rest with the Lord in prayer, his grace fills us, energizing us to follow him. Whatever our situation, we can expect to be filled and made new, just as Jesus was, when we withdraw in prayer.
“Holy Spirit, take me deeper into Jesus’ life and love. I want to know the Father’s heart and ways and to experience his life as I pray today.”~wau