Ministry of John the Baptist; baptism and temptation of Jesus; His Galilean ministry; the twelve disciples chosen; the unpardonable sin.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed (Mark 1:35).
Before beginning His ministry and immediately following His baptism, Jesus remained in the Jordan praying . . . And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him (Luke 3:21-22). This was the first of many examples that Jesus gave us of the importance of prayer (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; 6:46; 14:32,35-39; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18,28; 10:2,21; 11:1-4; 18:1-8; 21:36-37; 22:39-46; John 11:41; 14:16; 17:1-26). This points out how important prayer was to Christ.
We read of one day when He was teaching in the synagogue. He was interrupted by a demon-possessed man. Afterwards, He healed Peter's mother-in-law. The great crowd of the sick continued to press upon Him until far into the night (Luke 4:31-41). It was a long and exhausting day's work. Perhaps we would have felt that it was more important to get an extra hour of sleep instead of rising to pray.
Again, He departed into a mountain to pray (Mark 6:46), suggesting not a single act but rather a habit of action. When the ministry's pressure was the greatest, He slept the least and gave more time to prayer.
Thinking of the serious work the day before He selected the twelve men who were to be the future leaders of the Church, Luke says: He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12). His constant prayer life caught the attention of the disciples, and even they said: Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1).
Jesus' example teaches us that prayer is one of the most important Christian activities. Like Jesus, through prayer and daily Bible reading we maintain an intimate walk with our Savior and lay the foundation for success in other spiritual activities, ensuring victory in the struggle against Satan.
It is the basis and strength of all we do. Through His Word and prayer we can understand His will and plan for our lives. We are told to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2), that we may stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:10-12).
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
Thought for Today:
No hindrance is too great for those who know that Christ alone can transform a life.
1:7 latchet, leather strap similar to a shoelace; 1:26 torn him, thrown him into convulsions; 1:43 straitly charged, sternly warned; 1:45 blaze abroad, make known everywhere; every quarter, everywhere; 2:1 it was noised, the news spread.
Prayer Suggestion: Diligently seek the guidance of the Lord (Prov. 8:17).
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 139:1-2