Thursday, May 16, 2019
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.
As we are going through our month of prayer, this is one critical passage not to omit. It speaks to me of how Jesus was devoted in prayer, of the closeness between Jesus and his heavenly Father. It is a model of committed discipleship, and how Jesus took concentrated time before making the decision as to whom would be his closest disciples.
There aren’t any mountains close to us here in our part of Ohio. I don’t count Alpine Valley as a mountain by any stretch of the imagination. I could go to one of our Geauga parks and walk on the trails, but they would frown on me spending the night there. Where might you and I go to spend some extended time in prayer? But maybe the better question is – when would we do that?
We are told that Jesus had a specific purpose in his prayer time here on the mountain – so that he could choose his disciples. According to one source I consulted, the gospels record twenty-five instances when Jesus prayed, and that isn’t counting times when more than one gospel records that same occasion. Here are just a few of the examples of when Jesus prayed: He prayed before he was baptized. He prayed before healing people. He prayed, giving God thanks before the multiplying of the loaves. He prayed for children. He prayed on a mountain top before he walked across the water, coming to the disciples on the sea. He prayed before teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he prayed at his crucifixion. He is praying for us now.
Would you pray all night? Do you pray before making an important decision? Do you pray when someone is sick or facing a medical procedure? How has prayer made a difference for you? If Jesus felt compelled to pray to God, how can we not? Jesus was closer to God than any other human being and spent a long time in prayer. He is our example, but he is also our challenge in taking prayer seriously. Prayer is worth our time, and for Jesus, it was worth giving up a night of sleep.
Lord Jesus, you prayed because you knew it made a difference, and you continue to pray for me. Let me be faithful in prayer, holding to your example of why prayer is important. Thank you, Jesus, for being not only a model for prayer, but for your life given for me. You are one in nature with God the Father. In prayer let me also draw near, in praise of your name. Amen.