When No One Will Leave You Alone

Yesterday morning at The Village, we started a new series called “Rooted.” I issued a 21-day challenge for everyone in our church to begin and end every day by trying to “till the soil,” so to speak, to allow God to grow more deeply in our lives. We have a 21-day reading and prayer plan (you can subscribe and follow along here), and I’m going to be writing some unpolished thoughts from my journal here.

TODAY’S READING: MARK 1:35-39; LUKE 5:16

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.
 

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

TODAY’S JOURNAL

 “Everyone is looking for you!”

That’s what the disciples said to Jesus when he went off by himself to spend time praying. They didn’t see the same level of importance for it as Jesus did. For him, it was crucial. For them, it was peripheral, an extra bonus.

Taking intentional time out of our schedules to pray isn’t easy, it’s not something that people around us understand or applaud or encourage. (Even this morning, I got up early to do this before my family was awake so there wouldn’t be any distractions, and right in the middle of my journaling, as if to say, “Not so fast, sucker,” our dog started whining to go out.) The pressures on our time and the distractions in life are relentless!

It says here that even Jesus had to sneak away to lonely places early in the morning before the sun was up and anyone was awake in order to find this time, and even his disciples questioned his priorities. “Why are you off praying by yourself when everyone is looking for you?!?! How do you have time to pray when you’re supposed to be saving the world?”

The thing for Jesus, though, is that his prayer life is what fueled the rest of his ministry. Every time Jesus does something significant, there’s significant prayer that happens before it or during it. Martin Luther, the famous 16th century priest, once said something to the effect of that on his busiest days he knew that he needed to spend 3 hours praying before the day started instead of just 2 hours.

Most of us, myself very much included, feel like we’re too busy to pray. The reality, though, is that we’re probably too busy not to pray.

God, as I set aside this time to spend with you, I pray that you will remove the distractions or at least help me not to be sidetracked by them. What I want and what I need is to become more deeply rooted in you, so I’m asking you to help me loosen the soil in my life because I know that the soil shapes the roots.

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