Early in the Morning
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there”. Mark 1:35
You would think that Jesus would be tired from his long day of preaching, healing, and exorcism, but he gets up while it is still very dark—well before sunrise. This is what Jesus had done late into the night the day before as stated in the verses. Jesus arose early to pray.
What is prayer? Prayer is defined as a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship. I would also add a time to communicate with God. Prayer is important to make requests and give thanks, but also to listen for guidance and direction. A time to listen to God to respond to your request and say you are welcome when giving thanks. It does not say what Jesus was praying, but if we look at his teachings it could be what we were just saying. Jesus was praying for those he had just healed, for strength and guidance to continue to preach and teach the will of God. This should be our prayer.
Lastly, Jesus went to a deserted place to pray. Jesus was not concerned about image. He went to a place where there are no distractions. A place to connect with God getting away from all that can and will distract us in the world. The Greek word (eremos) is often used for wilderness. Wilderness has special meaning in Jewish tradition. The wilderness is where God shaped redeemed and made them into the People of God. John the Baptist preached repentance and forgiveness and Jesus triumphed over temptations from Satan. Prayer in a deserted place can allow God to shape and redeem us. Are we open to allowing God to transform us?
Calvin Griffin- Pastor of Singleton and Mount Zion UMC Gloucester, Virginia