Second Week of Lent – Jesus Prays
March 17, 2019
From Presbyterian Outlook Devotions
15 But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many crowds would gather to hear him and to be cured of their diseases. 16 But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
More than ever, word spread about Jesus. As Jesus’ notoriety and the crowds following him grows, he withdraws to deserted places to pray. These two verses offer great wisdom to Jesus’ contemporary followers. The more demanding, chaotic and full Jesus’ life became, the more Jesus understood the need to set aside places and times to communicate and be with God.
Deserted places seem nonexistent in our culture. Even when we are alone, most of us remain digitally connected to work, friends, family and all manner of internet distractions. Waiting in line, stopped at a traffic light or sitting in a coffee shop, everyone peers intently at their screens. Space void of the intrusion of rings, dings and buzzes must be sought out. Time to listen for God’s voice, share with our Maker our deep feelings and simply be still and know that God is God must be prioritized
and created. No less than Jesus withdrew to deserted places even as the needy crowds clamored for his attention.
In a culture that values efficiency, multitasking, consuming and capital, taking time to pray appears useless, indulgent and downright odd. Those of us who follow Jesus, however, take our instructions from the One who came to fulfill the greatest, most urgent calling possible: salvation of the world. And if Jesus, who is on a mission to save sinners, took time to withdraw and pray, how much more should we acknowledge our dependence on and need for God? This week, no matter who or what presses for your attention, no matter how important the call or text, no matter how long the to-do list, no matter how overwhelming the
circumstances, put everything aside, turn off the phone, look away from the screen, find a deserted place, withdraw and pray.
Jesus did, therefore, so should we.