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. Mark 1
So I read this and was thinking about it, like you do. When I was a young person in church, this was often used as an instruction regarding discipline. Jesus got himself out of bed early – he made the effort to pray and so should you! I am all for the merits of discipline. Goodness knows I could do with a bit when it comes to my unedifying caramel wafer habit. (Do you think they will be more difficult to buy if Scotland votes for Independence? I might boycott them anyway if they do. I am having huge rejection issues about this. Sorry – digression) It is true that we achieve very little without some form of discipline. It wasn’t what struck me about this though.
We were also advised that this meant that early morning was the ideal time to have a quiet prayer time because that’s when Jesus did it and so it must be right. Anyone who has set their alarm at 4am for a quiet time and after switching it off with every intention of getting up immediately, suddenly finds themselves waking with a start four hours late for work, knows that it doesn’t always work. Also what if you work an early shift? You would have to set your alarm at about 1am. I am not sure God would welcome the kind of person I would be at 1am after an alarm had gone off. Anyway, it’s not what I thought of when I read this.
I thought, what if Jesus got up that early because he just couldn’t wait. As soon as his eyes opened he wanted to be with God. Because that was his special, safe place. Because, with all that was going on, he couldn’t wait to seek God’s face for advice and power. And also maybe because of the way God felt about his beloved son. He wanted Jesus to come and BE with him. Jesus knew the Father would be waiting and be so chuffed to spend time together. This would give Jesus strength for the rest of the day but it was also a special time in itself. It was maybe his favourite time of the whole day, when he was most where he was supposed to be and he LOVED it.
I would so love to cultivate that – the complete acceptance, the simple joy in the presence of the father – just a fantastic relationship. So that, when I think of God, I just want to be in my best place. at prayer with the Father. feeling known and loved.
You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?
Galatians 4 6 (Msg)