Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Mark 1:35 NLT
It is interesting that the scripture writers noted various times when Jesus prayed. Mark, in our passage today, wrote about Jesus getting up early in the morning to find an isolated place to pray. In Matthew, chapter 14, we can read about Jesus praying on a hillside at night. I give these two examples to let us know there is nothing sacred about praying in the morning or at night—or even in the middle of the day. I recently was with a man I highly respect who has been used greatly in ministry who chooses to have his prayer time at 1:00 in the afternoon, I personally have normally used the early morning for my prayer time because it is the time that I am less likely to be interrupted. I discovered in 1986 when first becoming a lead pastor that once the day got started there was always someone who needed to talk to me. That was when I started my early morning routine of talking to God.
There are times my mornings are interrupted, and I find another time of the day. I believe it is vital to have a daily time to connect with our Heavenly Father. I remember the saying, “We should never talk to people about God until we have talked to God about people.” It is in my personal prayer time that I receive conviction for areas of my life that need adjustments. I receive direction for life and ministry. I receive hope and faith for the future. I receive ideas and dreams for what God has in store for me personally and in ministry. It has always amazed me the number of coincidental things that happen in my life when I am praying. One of my sons recently was talking to someone about me and I overheard him say that his father seemed to have a lucky horseshoe with him all the time. I don’t believe it has been luck—I believe I have been favored by God because I chose to spend time in prayer. I must be honest and admit I have had times of failure in prayer. I have had times where it because prayer by rote with little intensity. Times when I missed a day or two in prayer. Times when it seemed more like a routine than a relationship. The key was I never gave up. If I missed, I just started over the next day. If it got too much of a routine, I changed it up and asked the Holy Spirit to help me be creative in my prayer time. Sometimes I walk and pray. Sometimes I kneel. Sometimes I am on my face. Sometimes I yell loudly. Sometimes I sit in silence. Prayer is not a formula. It is a relationship. It is like talking to a friend—except that friend is the Creator of the Universe and He deserves our respect when we talk to Him. The key is to start praying. Two crucial things—a time and a place. Set a time when you will prayer and choose a place where you will pray. Then just start and see what God will do.
Holy Spirit please direct me in my pray times. Help me to connect with You daily. Help me to be able to listen to Your voice and sense Your gentle nudge. Help me to be faithful in prayer.
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