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!”
There are certain things in life that we have to take care of for ourselves. No one can do them for us, we have to own them and take care of business for ourselves. There are things and tasks that no one’s going to do it for us, we must do it for ourselves.
We can try to delegate it, ignore it, delay it, reprioritize it, or even try to kill it. But the simple fact remains that there are just some things that we have to do for ourselves. There are no shortcuts, simple tricks, phone apps, or list of three steps to solve or accomplish. They take our personal time, attention, energy, focus, and dedication in order to do it.
A quarterback can’t learn how to throw a football by delegating their practice time to someone else. No, they have to take the ball into their own hands and throw it. And throw it. And throw it. It takes practice, throwing the ball over, and over, and over, and over.
There are no shortcuts, no hacks. Life is not like the board game Clue where you can move from one end to another through secret passages. Life’s not like computer games where you can buy weapons, extra lives, and additional time with your parent’s credit card.
Jesus clearly understood and practiced this. There are certain things that only he, and he alone could do. When it came to taking care of his own, personal relationship with his Father, he didn’t try and pawn it off to someone else. And neither should we.
In the early part of the morning, while it was still a bit dark, he left the comfort of Simon’s house and safety of the city. He not only went out, he went out alone.
And why did he go out early?
· Not to avoid the traffic.
· Not to grab something at Starbucks before the drive-through line got too long.
· Not to get a jump on his overloaded email in-basket.
· Not to knock out a bunch of things from his bloated to-do list before the first meeting.
He went out early to pray. He went out early to pray because it was not just on his priority list, but because it was his priority. Period.
When Jesus prayed, he looked toward God with all that he was, all that he had. It was a definite decision to concentrate all his attention and energies on his heavenly Father. His conscious thoughts were focused and filled with God.
And this was not some 15 second, or even 15 minute, exercise. This was not the Peloton of prayer where he had people cheering him on, pushing him onto greater and greater heights. No, he prayed through the early morning hours all by himself. As the dawn came, and the sun rose in the east, Jesus stayed at the task. He kept up the conversation with God the Father.
And why did he stop? Did he run out of things to say? Were all his prayers answered?
He stopped because he was interrupted. Simon and his friends finally found Jesus after searching for him. They tracked him down because, without Jesus, they didn’t know what to do next. They didn’t know where to go, or what to say.
All they knew is that they tracked down Jesus and told him that everyone was looking for him. They told Jesus what they knew and waited for an answer.
Boy, does that sound like prayer to me. Prayer is where you track down Jesus. You personally search and search for Jesus. Where you put aside everything else and look far and wide for Jesus. And you won’t stop looking for Jesus till you’ve found him.
But that’s not the kind of prayer that I’m familiar with. And, if you don’t mind me saying, I’d bet all the money in my pockets that it’s not the kind of prayer you’re familiar with either.
But that doesn’t mean that we stop praying. We don’t stop searching for Jesus. Till we find him.