Prayer and Purpose

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.

Mark 1:35

In yesterday’s reflection, I noted how Jesus remained faithful to his purpose, even when that meant disappointing the crowds who were clamoring for him. I suggested that you and I need a similar focus on our main purpose(s) in life.

But how can we stay focused in this way? After all, we’re not Jesus. Our communication channel with God is distorted by the static of our sin. Can we ever hope to know our purpose and stick to it?

To be sure, our sin does get in the way of our ability to know and do God’s will. But the example of Jesus points to something we can do to foster clearer communication with God. Mark 1:35 says that Jesus got up “before daybreak” and “went out to an isolated place to pray.” Jesus sensed that he needed some extended time alone with his Heavenly Father. No doubt, in this time, Jesus received additional clarity and guidance with respect to his ministry. Because he had spent quality and quantity time alone with the Father, Jesus was able to reject the temptation to play to the crowds. He could stay focused on his purpose because he had taken time for prayer.

Prayer clarifies purpose. When we pray, especially when we are quiet enough to allow the Father to speak to us, we are able to know why he has put us on the earth and what he wants us to do next. Moreover, prayer enables us to focus on our purpose, rather than become distracted by all sorts of other causes and conditions. So, if we want to be able to live our lives with maximum impact, doing that to which God has called us, then we need, like Jesus, to spend time with our Heavenly Father. Though we may not be able to arise early and go to an isolated place, we need to get away from the distractions of life on a regular basis in order to quiet our hearts before God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you ever get away from the bustle of life in order to pray? What are the things that keep you from being quiet before God? What could you do in the next week in order to get quality and quantity time with your Heavenly Father?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, your example in this passage both challenges me and encourages me. If you, of all people, needed to get away in order to spend time with the Father, how much more do I need to do this!

Forgive me, Lord, when I let the demands and distractions of this life keep me from prayer. Put within me a new desire to spend time with my Heavenly Father and help me to act on this desire.

O Lord, may faithful prayer undergird and permeate my life, even today. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.