Mark 1:35-37, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
The people are coming to Jesus in droves. He is healing the sick, the diseased, the disfigured. His ministry is in full force. There is more to do than hours in the day. A huge amount of pressure weighs upon him but this is what he has come to do, has left the glories of heaven and the presence of the Father to do. There are miles ahead of him that day. There are hoards of people to deal with that day.
And yet, while it was still dark, he gets up, sneaks away to a solitary place alone, and prays to His Father. This was Jesus pattern. When the heat was on, when the pressure was mounting, when the schedule was insane, when his life was dripping with stress, Jesus priority was time alone with God. He, when he was under the greatest pressures, turned to the Father knowing that God would give strength and peace to achieve all that was on the agenda.
Robert C. McFarlane was a well-known businessman in the Los Angeles area. He moved to California from Oklahoma in 1970, and within just a few days of his arrival—due to a disastrous misunderstanding with a close friend—he had to take control of an insurance agency. He did not want it, but he had to make it succeed in order to save the large amount of money he had invested in it.
By the spring of 1973, he was in the third straight year of constant strain and stress in the operation of the business. He had recently been converted through the ministry of the Rolling Hills Covenant Church in Southern California in answer to the prayers of his wife, Betty, and her many Christian friends.
One day that spring, the continual danger of defeat, the dark hours of effort, the frustration at every turn, and the hardened memories of the cause of his financial difficulties came upon him with special force. As he drove toward his office, he suddenly was filled with a frantic urge to turn left onto the road out of town and just disappear. But into the midst of his inner turmoil there came a command: "Pull over to the curb."
As he relates it, it was as if the words were written on the windshield. After he pulled over, there came to him, as though from someone with him in the car, these words: "My Son had strains that you will never know, and when he had those strains, he turned to me, and that's what you should do."
After hearing these words, Robert sat at the wheel for a long time, sobbing aloud. He then drove on to his Long Beach office, where he faced 22 major, outstanding problems. All the most significant problems—whether they concerned company disagreements, clients deciding to remain with his agency, payments by clients of late premiums, or whatever—were substantially resolved by that day's end. [Dallas Willard, Hearing God (InterVarsity Press, 1999); used with permission] It's amazing what God can achieve in our lives if we just turn to Him.
Don't miss time alone with God today. Get up early. Go to bed late. Find the time. Jesus' priority is our mandate. What Jesus needed, is for us, a necessity. Don't make God command you to turn your car over to the side of the road. Don't let it get to that. Turn to Him now and often.
Prayer: Father, we need You. Every hour we need You. Be our strength and peace. Grant us victory today over the enemy and the allure of this world. Let our words be a balm for the hurting, encouragement to the discouraged, a beacon that leads to You. Let our minds be the fertile ground for the seeds of Your word. Let us see Your glory. And let us give You glory. In Jesus name, amen.