Climb and Pray

Jesus pray mountain wilderness 2

Matthew 14:22-23
22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

I love the example Jesus gives us of prayer and solitude. He was taking the disciples across the lake for some down time but the crowd ran around and met them on the other side. Jesus, feeling compassion for them, pushed on a little more and ministered to them. But when they were satisfied and cared for, Jesus made sure that He nor His disciples missed their quiet time. One of the most important practices Jesus taught us was to go away in solitude and have discussions with His Heavenly Father.

I continue to have a profound revelation that we never actually “arrive” at our ideal prayer life. Have you ever heard someone say, “Yes, I spend enough time praying every day and my relationship with God is perfect”? No, we are continually seeking more time with God the Father and looking to increase our time with Him. Jesus instructs and shows us how important it is to remain in constant communion with God. He went to great lengths to make sure that He had that one-on-one time with the Father. He would climb mountains! How far away do you seclude yourself to make sure you are not interrupted or distracted from your time with God? Would you climb a mountain every day just to spend time with Him? Jesus knew that the disciples also had to go away for quiet time, but Jesus kept to Himself for this intimate time with the Father.

We tend to underestimate the power of prayer and its importance in our lives. We go for so long without that intimate time with God that when we have it, it’s powerful and refreshing and we don’t want to miss it again. Maybe it’s just me, but I struggle to carve that time out. It is hard for me to climb that mountain everyday. Sometimes it is hard for me to find a mountain to pray on. With our fast paced society, everything is begging for our attention. Maybe your kids have a need you must attend to. Maybe you have disciples that you must teach. Maybe your job is constantly pulling at you. Jesus is intentional in making sure that everyone is cared for, then He sends them away and makes His time with the Father a priority. We notice that Jesus’ compassion drives Him to care for the people and make sure everyone is taken care of, then He sends them away so that He can be taken care of through His relationship with the Father.

I don’t ever want to downplay Jesus’ awesomeness, but I think sometimes we let it get in the way of following Him. We see Him as this spiritual super giant that we cannot emulate, but the truth is that we are supposed to follow Him! We look at His intimate connection with the Father and think, “well, that’s Jesus, I could never do that.” There is a reason why He came as a human: to show us we can! His miracles were performed by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that resides inside us. His relationship with the Father was very intentional and He worked at it just like we have to. Don’t be discouraged by Jesus’ awesomeness; be encouraged! Yes, He was God incarnate, but He was fully human and showed us our potential here on earth.

In John 17, Jesus prays “the priestly prayer” where He blesses His followers and commends them to the Father. Take note of what He says:

17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

We are to be as connected with God as Jesus was! We make excuses for our poor relationship with God and why we cannot, but Jesus says you can if you want it bad enough. He has made the way, we just have to follow it. What is your prayer mountain? What is begging for your attention so that you may go away in solitude? How can you better organize your day so that you can protect your time with the Father?

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