On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them. When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him. Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee. (Mark 1: 29-39)
Sometimes the news of the world just seems overwhelming. Sometimes it seems as if we are presented with one dilemma or another. Sometimes it just tires me out. Sometimes I just need a break.
Sometimes I forget to practice that which I preach.
Then comes along today’s Gospel and hits me smack between the eyes.
Jesus, God made man, knew what his human side needed. After curing Simon’s mother-in-law, he continues through his day and cures multitudes. He does it almost as if his human side was indefatigable.
At night, he stops. BUT before plunging into the next day, he goes off to pray. Jesus, God made man, goes off to pray to God, his father. In the early dawn. No distractions. No news of the world. Not even one of his disciples with him. Alone.
Aha. Here comes the message.
Truth is too many of us don’t take the time to truly pray. Too many of us don’t take the time to do more than offer up a laundry list of things we need to happen in our lives.
We need to remember that while we can’t stop life from coming at us, we sure can attend to the life that is given us.
That means attending to our relationship with God so that it is He who moves through our lives and it is He who guides our next step.
Simple, huh? It is. We need to remember that.
We have to start with establishing the fact that prayer is a communication between living beings. Prayer is communication with a being who lives forever, knows more and better than we do, and is in love with us.
Like any communication with a living being, we make a statement and wait for a response. We often times can be accused of talking over God, especially when it is not what we want to hear.
So, prayer requires listening.
As we read in today’s Gospel, prayer is set apart. Prayer is a safe place. This is important because prayer can be a really great thing for everyone, but especially for those who are struggling.
Prayer is our own. It should be our own. It should not be what someone tells us to say unless we have asked for their recommendation. Because it is our own, we can be brutally honest. There is no need to tell God, “Yes, I love my neighbor,” when God knows our heart and knows we cannot stand our neighbor. I recommend to clients that they tell God the truth: “Lord, I cannot stand my neighbor. Please help me understand this.”
Prayer is a source of renewal. It renews us because we pray to the one who is pure love. Knowing that we are loved, loving that we are special, knowing that He worries over every hair in our head, is more than comforting. It renews and energizes us.
I am a great believer in all of this. Yet, I fail more often at doing it right. So, don’t learn from me. Instead learn from Him.
Set aside time each day to be with Him. Listen after you have finished talking. Treasure the silence with Him. Let His love wash over you. Let Jesus Christ renew you.
Maybe not “everyone is looking for you.” But He is.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, help me to recognize that you wait for me each day. You ask only to be the Lord of my life. Help me to recognize that in the silence, you will come to me.”
The human side of Jesus knew what it felt like to be worn out by crowds of people. And so, He needed some quiet time to re-orient himself. To re-connect with his spiritual source. To re-energize. As with everything He did, he taught us what to do. Each of us need to find time alone in prayer, in meditation, time alone with God. There is no substitute for this. Without it, our souls wither, and our strength fades.