A 40 Day Journey to Becoming Like the One We Follow
Day 22: Prayerful (Mark 1:35)
The Gospel of Mark is fast-paced and action-packed. It's just the sort of story telling to keep readers and listeners hooked. Jesus was busy, and one of Mark's favorite words is "immediately." There is a sense of urgency. Not that Jesus was rushed or hurried or stressed. But there was much to do and not much time to do it in.
The key, I think, to the balance Jesus maintains in his ministry comes down to prayer. In the first chapter of Mark and elsewhere throughout the gospels, we read about Jesus taking time to go off by himself to pray.
Prayer isn't one important thing to do in a list of other important things to do. Prayer is the thing by which all other tasks get done. Without that personal connection with the Father, the Son could do nothing. Simply stated, Jesus couldn't not pray.
Some people have understood this about themselves, too. Martin Luther is quoted as saying, "I'm so busy now that if I did not spend three hours each day in prayer, I could not get through the day."
Prayer permeated Jesus' ministry. Not only did he find times to pray, but he taught about prayer and taught us how to pray. He modeled a prayerful life for his disciples, and he encouraged us to develop the same kind of relationship with the Father as he himself enjoyed.
Again, prayer isn't just something we do. It's the very thing through which everything else gets done. That's why Paul could tell us to "pray without ceasing."
Maybe some of us need to take a cue from the disciples and ask, "Lord, teach us to pray." And then follow Jesus' lead.
"Our Father, who art in heaven..."