Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Prayers of Jesus - Part 4 - Too Busy Not To Pray - Mark 1:32-39

In part 1 – Keeping Your Life Moving in the Right Direction – we saw how Jesus used prayer and put an emphasis on prayer from the beginning of His ministry all the way to the end of His ministry. Part 2 – United with God Through Prayer – we looked at how prayer empowers us to make God’s love known to others by being united with Him in prayer. In part 3 – Letting God Drive the Big Decisions of Life –we talked about how we need to follow the example of Jesus and pray before life’s big decisions. In today’s post, we will see how we should follow Jesus’ example and make prayer an important part of our busy lives.

You know it seems like no matter who we are, we are busy. We live in a fast paced…from one thing to the next…society. If you’re like me, you long for a day or two where you can just do nothing. Anyone else feel that way? From family to work to church to friends to the rest of life, everything and everybody seems to want some of our time.

What we see here in the passage from Mark in just one example of how busy Jesus was. Once he began His earthly ministry, there was a constant demand for His time. But no matter how busy things got for Jesus, He still saw the importance of prayer and made the time to talk to His heavenly Father. As I go through the sermon today, I want you to think about this question, “What can we learn from Jesus about the importance of prayer in our busy lives?”

The first thing we learn from the example of Jesus is that we need to…

MAKE TIME TO PRAY IN ISOLATION

Mark 1:35, “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.”

Folks listen…we need time every single day undistracted and alone with God. The truth is…we’ve all had times where it felt like we were just talking into space when we pray. I think we feel like this sometimes because God isn’t right there in front of us to let us know He’s listening. Never forget that God is always there with us…listening to us when we talk to Him.

Folks…let’s admit it. Some of us have the attention span of a goldfish. Prayer requires us to discipline our minds and focus on the conversation we are having with God. Satan is the master distractor and he will do whatever he can to get your attention away from the conversation you’re supposed to be having with God. He will use your family, the phone, the tv…whatever he can to keep you from really getting down to business in prayer. Being alone with God helps keep our focus where it needs to be…on having meaningful conversation with Him.

There is a difference between corporate prayer and personal prayer. If the only prayer time you have in your life is when the preacher says, “Let’s bow our heads and pray together…” you’re in trouble. God has designed the Christian life so that every one of us can be successful and victorious but we have to do it God’s way. Our problem is we want to be like Frank Sinatra or Elvis and say, “I did it MY way.”

Listen folks…if Jesus needed time alone in prayer every, single day then how much more do we need it? When we read about Jesus praying, we get a glimpse into the intimate relationship within the Trinity. We see the perfect fellowship with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of the three persons of God has a role to play in the relationship. So if God’s only Son needed to spend time alone with His Father, how much more do we, as His adopted children, need that alone time with Him?

Folks…think about it for just a minute. The very God of the universe…the One who stepped out into nothing and said, “Let there be light…” wants to have a conversation with you….wants to listen to you…and will take the time whenever you are ready and willing to pray. Listen…He is concerned about the trials you’re going through…the health crisis you’re in…the financial difficulties your having…and He’s promised to meet our needs according to His riches in glory. All you have to do is make time…take time…and talk with Him. Prayer must be an important part of your busy life.

So what can we learn from Jesus about the importance of prayer in our busy lives? That we need to make time to pray in isolation. We also learn that we need to…

MAKE TIME TO PRAY IN SPITE OF THE BUSINESS OF LIFE

Back to our passage from Mark 1, “Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: Everyone is looking for you! Jesus replied, Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come. So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”

Jesus already knew what we need to take the time to learn. Prayer…when done right…will focus our purpose and priorities. The disciples seemed concerned that everybody had been looking for Him and he was hard to find. They didn’t quite seem to get it. Did they? Why was He away somewhere alone when there was so much to be done? Jesus understood the importance of this alone time away from all the activity.

Prayer is spiritual exercise that will strengthen our mind and our spirit. For most people, prayer is kind of like physical exercise. It’s a lot easier to sit on the couch and watch tv than it is to get up and go walk or run a couple of miles…or do sit ups or push ups or any of that other stuff that keeps us in shape physically. Folks listen…prayer requires intentional, conscious effort on our part if we are going to do it correctly. Until you see the value of prayer in your life, you will never make it a priority.

Jesus says…after His prayer time is interrupted, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

Jesus saw the big picture – He knew what His mission was…what He had come to do. Prayer reinforced His mission – to preach the gospel. Jesus had a very clear sense of purpose in His life. Prayer is not replacing our mission it is empowering our mission. Jesus not only saw the big picture, He also saw the specifics of His mission – to go to the nearby villages.

Listen folks…before we go out into the business of our daily lives we need to be clear on our purpose and our mission. Activity and business doesn’t always equal productivity. Action doesn’t always fulfill our purpose. We need to follow Jesus’ example and spend time with God in prayer every day and allowing Him to direct our work to fulfill His purposes. Prayer helps us prioritize, focus and visualize our day so we can fulfill God’s mission. We have to make prayer an important part of our busy lives.

So back to our question… What can we learn from Jesus about the importance of prayer in our busy lives? We learn that we need to make time to pray in isolation and that we need to make time to pray in spite of the business of life. The last thing we learn is that we need to…

MAKE TIME TO PRAY THROUGHOUT THE DAY

Luke 5:15-16, “The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Folks…don’t you think what Jesus was doing…all of the preaching and healing and casting out demons…was important? Don’t you think Jesus knew there was work to be done and souls that needed to be saved? Sure it was important and absolutely Jesus knew what needed to be done; but He didn’t allow the urgency of the day…or the moment…to distract Him from doing the Father’s will. To stay tuned in to His mission and to His relationship with the Father he would take time to pray.

John 6:15, “Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”

Jesus had become so popular that the people even wanted to force Him to be King…and why not…it would mean food for everyone. Right? But Jesus knew His mission was not to feed the world…His mission was to save the world. Don’t let other people pressure you into compromising your mission from God. We all face pressures to compromise our God given purpose. Prayer helps us stay focused on what that is and helps us to act on it.

You know…there’s a lot in life to distract us from prayer and focusing on what God has called us to do. No wonder it’s so tempting to just give up and go with the flow…to just be one of the crowd. Do you want to be all that God wants you to be? I know I do. In order for that to happen, we MUST make prayer an important part of our busy lives.

So what can we learn from Jesus about the importance of prayer in our busy lives? We need to learn to make time to pray in isolation and that we need to make time to pray in spite of the business of life and that we need to make time to pray throughout the day. Jesus would start each day by going off alone to pray and would even withdraw to pray when the pressures and circumstances of the day moved Him to do so.

Folks listen…prayer demands our time. We need to set aside time each day to be alone to pray. In your time of prayer focus on what God has called you to do. Each day in prayer think about what you need to do to fulfill your mission. The reality is that we need to spend time with God every day because it’s so easy to get spiritually deflated and defeated if we don’t.

So how is your prayer life? Do you have a spare tire mentality toward prayer or have you committed yourself to a daily routine of spending quality time with Him?