READING: Leviticus 20-22, Mark 1:35-2:28
The Gospel of Mark records Jesus praying only three times (1:35, 6:46 [after the feeding of the 5000], and 14:32-39 [Garden of Gethsemane]). Scholars have pointed out that each recorded prayer time was a time of rising tension as Jesus lived out the will of the Father. We know from the other gospels that Jesus prayed much more than these three times, but Mark focuses particularly on these times.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark” seems almost contradictory to us, but it was likely so early in the morning that the light of day had not yet spread widely. The wording suggests the time may have been between 3am and 6am. So, in the midst of the busyness of His ministry—and even while crowds were apparently clamoring to see Him—Jesus still got alone with the Father. If the only time to be alone with Him was while it was still dark, Jesus arose early and prioritized that time. The fact that His disciples found Him there at least hints that He regularly came to this place.
My primary prayer times throughout the day aren’t always (or often, even) during the hours Jesus prayed in Mark 1:35. I have learned, though, that to begin the day without spending at least some time with God is not wise. Early morning prayer is a confession that we don’t want to take a single step without His leading – and we need His strength, wisdom, and guidance to get through the day.
PRAYER: “Lord, I commit that I will seek You in the morning tomorrow.”
DAILY ACTION STEP: Even if you spend just a few minutes in prayer tomorrow morning, make this commitment. Growth in prayer won’t happen without a start.
TOMORROW’S READING: Leviticus 23-25, Mark 3