I decided to read the book of Mark now that I’ve finished Matthew. I wanted to spend more time with Jesus in the gospels! Mark was the traveling companion of Peter and reports on everything Peter tells him, so we get a unique point of view in this short gospel account.
In the first chapter of Mark, you’ll see the word “immediately” seven times! It’s astonishing how busy Jesus is and how much is demanded of Him. Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, the Holy Spirit leads Him to the wilderness. Upon His return, He immediately calls the first disciples, and then He begins teaching in the synagogue. He immediately leaves and then immediately heals Simon’s mother-in-law. Everything seems so fast and frenzied. I think Mark wants us to feel this pressure in his narrative because it builds so much tension to invite us to then take a breath in verse 35. We rush and rush and rush and then. . .
We read this about Jesus:
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to desolate place, and there he prayed.
How did Jesus handle the life of immediate demands? We see His choice and the need for quiet, solitude, and prayer. I just love this as a beautiful invitation for us to take a moment out of immediacy and rushing to step away for quiet, solitude, and prayer.
This morning, a neighbor’s snowblower woke me up at 5:00 AM. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I rose in the darkness, make delicious coffee, showered, and sat in the quiet living room with my Bible, journal, and devotional books. I would have two hours before the sun rose. I would have two hours before I would hear another person stirring. There’s something powerful about the silence of a pre-dawn morning alone with God. And it seemed like a divine appointment to read of Jesus’ own prayer life in the early morning on this very day of early waking.
As I turn to start writing, I remember the famous quote from Martin Luther when he was asked about his plans for his day: “Work, work from early until late. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” I think about having this disposition of heart to know that I can do nothing apart from Christ. I think of Luther spending those hours in prayer and Jesus alone in the morning. What a picture of dependence on God!
And now, I’ll immediately turn to the work of the day.