“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” – Mark 1:35
Question of the day: What if you just don’t feel like praying?
Six weeks ago I fractured my right foot on vacation. Being obstinate, I didn’t put a walking boot on for over 3 weeks. However, when I finally went to the doctor he told me that I had to wear one in order for it to heal.
I have only one problem: it’s my right foot. The first time I tried to drive, I realized that this was not going to work. So, I began driving with my left foot. That was even scarier, you should try it some time. It was so awkward and uncomfortable. I was scared of making a mistake, so it took a lot of effort. And many times, I just took the boot off and drove with my right foot because I just didn’t want to deal with it.
Well, after 3 weeks of working at it, I can say that driving with my left foot is pretty easy now. And while I know many of you will be scared to meet me on the road somewhere, I am pretty comfortable with it. I have read that it takes 3 weeks to form a new habit. But 3 weeks is a long time to commit to doing something difficult.
Prayer can be like that, especially if you have never had a consistent prayer time. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and very easy to fall back into prayerlessness.
And to be honest, sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. Some times, I would rather just sleep in.
So I wonder, did Jesus ever have those issues? And if He did, how did He deal with them?
I know what some of you are thinking, “He was Jesus. He probably never had a problem praying.” And quite possibly you are correct. But I look at today’s scripture, and this is what I am thinking.
He got up before sunrise to go pray. That, in itself, is a challenge for most of us. In other passages, however, you get the feeling that this was His habit. However, if we read the passage immediately before this one, we see that the day before had been a really long and hard one. He had been healing people all day. It even said that most of the town gathered after sundown where He was to bring more sick and to watch more miracles. So in my estimation, we were looking, at least, a 12-hour marathon of healing and ministering to people? Maybe more?
Now, in the Methodist tradition, we believe that Jesus was fully God, but also fully man. And I have to believe that the fully man part was really tired and worn out from being pulled in all those directions that day.
But yet, probably on a day when He could have justified sleeping in, He still got up and had his prayer time. Do you think He felt like it? Or was He just doing it out of habit?
We will never know the answer to that question (this side of heaven anyway.) But one thing I do believe is that, regardless of the reason, He did it and was probably blessed by it.
My experience has always been that if I push myself to pray, even if I don’t feel like it, God has an amazing way of touching me and making me glad I did. See, He already knows my mind (don’t feel like it, Lord) but He also knows my heart (really want to connect with You, my King.) And I think He truly appreciates my effort. And He meets me wherever I am.
What an awesome God we serve. He not only meets me, but He blesses me too. In all circumstances, my willingness and my resistance.
So I encourage you today, do yourself a favor. If you don’t have a regular prayer habit, start today. Commit to yourself that you are going to stay with a daily prayer time for 30 days. It will be hard some days. You won’t feel like it some days, but do it any way.
I believe, that after the 30 days are up, you will find that it is no longer a challenge, but something you look forward to. I believe that the pure joy of being in His presence will be something that you find you don’t want to live without. It can very easily become the anchor that holds your life together.
I very much look forward to hearing your stories. Be Blessed!
PS – I am going to pray for each you these next 30 days – I promise. Maybe you can pray that I will find the same joy in exercise! (See, our relationships can be a win/win…:)
Your peace flows over me like a river. How is it, that I can experience so much of the fruit of our relationship, when I put so little into it? You really do carry my burdens don’t you, Lord?
Today, I pray for your strength in my weakness. Help me to be disciplined, when I have none under my own power.
I also pray for all my friends out there who are working hard at creating a practice of daily prayer. I ask that Your grace and mercy flow generously over them. Because once they make the commit to try, don’t You think the enemy will throw all kinds of obstacles in their way? So please protect them from any assaults, my King. Pave a way, and make a path that is straight for each one. Help every heart that is seeking You, to find itself fully in Your presence at every attempt. For You are kind, and loving, and gracious.
In the name of Jesus I pray,