Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chapter One...Preparation BY Jesus (Part 4)

His Purpose...(35-39)

This passage starts out with Jesus waking up really early in the morning and taking off to go pray.  Then, the disciples show up saying, "everyone is looking for you!"  Jesus then suggests they go somewhere else to preach, "that is why I have come."

First of all, Jesus just had very busy evening with people bringing him "all the sick and demon possessed" (v.32).  It says that the whole town gathered at the door...can you imagine?  I wonder what time it was when the last person went home?? I wonder how he told them, "could you please leave, I have to get up early tomorrow morning while it's still dark so I can pray."  That is not in there, but that's what I would have been thinking.

Jesus knew that he needed to pray.  He knew that he needed to “get out of the house” to find a “solitary place” where there was no distraction.  He saw prayer so important that even after a long night, he got up early because he knew the value and importance of prayer.  Here are some questions I had the guys think about...
  • If Jesus, being Divine himself, needed to pray, how much more should we, being human and prone to sin, need to pray?
  • What was the advantage of him taking off and finding a solitary place?
  • Why do you think he got up early?
  • In general, do you think Christians today know the value of prayer like Jesus did?
  • What is the value of prayer in your own words?

Jesus knew how to respond to distraction.  The disciples went out looking for him; he did not even have time to pray…or time alone.  After a long night of healing and ministering to others, he gets up early to pray.  He must have been exhausted.

  • What was his response to the disciples?
  • What other possible responses could he have chosen?
  • In all honesty, how do you think you would have responded if you were exhausted? 

Jesus knew why he was here.  He had a purpose and he kept his focus.  He prepared himself in prayer and took action. 

  • What did Jesus say was his purpose?
  • Why do you think he described his purpose in this way?

After this study, we did a survey of the people in our church and others we knew who are Christians.  The questions were 1) do you spend time in prayer? 2) How long and when am/pm?

The results were actually surprising to me.  We either have a bunch of people who are really spiritual here, or a bunch of people who answered with their goals of how long they would like to pray.

Out of 53 Christians surveyed; 25 said they spend more than an hour in prayer every day,  20 said they spend 30 minutes or less, 8 people said they don't spend time in prayer.

I spoke with a young man whom I know has accepted the Lord and asked him if he spent time in prayer and reading the Bible.  He said, "well, the truth is, no."  I challenged him to start out with just a couple of minutes a day before he does anything to sit, read, and pray.  I prayed with him right where we were at (in the kitchen of the restaurant he works in).  Today, he is praying and reading his Bible.

How much time do we really spend in prayer...honestly?

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