02/19/17 Early in the Morning

READING: Leviticus 25, Mark 1:23-45

“And He was praying there.”

Mark 1:35

It was after sunset, and I’m guessing that Jesus was tired. He had taught in the synagogue on that Sabbath day, and the people were amazed by the authority with which He taught. He had also exorcised a demon and healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. With sundown came the end of Sabbath, and the people were free to travel and bring their hurting friends to Jesus. In fact, the text says that “The whole town was assembled at the door” (Mark 1:33) to meet the Healer. The sick and the demon possessed gathered, and Jesus healed them into the night.

We don’t know for certain, but it appears that His rest that night may not have been long, for He was up in the morning “while it was still dark” (Mark 1:35). Apparently before others were up, Jesus rose, left the house, went to a secluded place, and there spent time with the Father. The needs of the world remained many (in fact, it wasn’t long that morning before others were looking for Him), but Jesus wanted and needed His alone time with God.

This text is one of three times that Mark records Jesus praying (see also Mark 6:46, 14:32-36), and we get the sense that His prayer was long and intense. Perhaps Jesus prayed words of gratitude for what the Father had already done in His ministry. Maybe He interceded for people who had come to Him for healing, but were not fully committed to following Him. He might also have prayed for His work to come as He prepared to move on to other cities. Whatever the content of His prayer was, though, His focus was the Father. Jesus clearly was intentional about getting away from the crowds to be alone with Him.

You may not get up early every morning to pray, but you do need intentional time with God. Few of us default into dependence and prayer, so we must make the choice daily to be with Him. He is, after all, the God who has freed us from bondage to sin and has given us life.


  • Get alone with the Father today for an extended period of time.  
  • Tomorrow, be sure to start the day by praying.

PRAYER: “Father, bring me to the place where I intentionally and faithfully spend time with You daily.”

TOMORROW'S READING: Leviticus 26-27, Mark 2