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Sunday, March 13

Reflection: A lesson in prayer 

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. 

Mark 1:35 

Jesus had just finished a very full day in Capernaum starting with attending and teaching at the local synagogue. During the Sabbath service, he rid a man of evil spirits. Afterward, he went to Simon and Andrew’s home and healed Simon’s mother-in-law. By evening, it seemed the whole town was outside the house seeking Jesus, and he responded by heal-ing many. It also was evident others would want time with him tomorrow.

I’ve had the blessed opportunity to visit Capernaum. It’s a gorgeous location on the northern shore of the Sea of Gali-lee. Although the ancient town is in ruins, it’s easy to imag-ine all that occurred that day. One can actually walk on the floor of the synagogue where Jesus taught, look into the house that commemorates where Simon Peter lived, and identify likely secluded prayer locations.

As I reflect on that day’s events, I have to confess that I wouldn’t be getting up early the next morning to pray. After all, I would have been emotionally and physically drained after so many interactions and the next day looked to be more of the same. Jesus did precisely the opposite.

Why does Jesus regard prayer time with the Father more essential than physical rest? I’m not going to pretend to know the answer, but it is interesting what happens when the disciples meet up later with Jesus the next morning. Simon and the others expect to pick up where they left off the night before. People are already looking for Jesus. In-stead Jesus says they now must go to other Galilean villages and preach because, “That is why I have come.”

It appears that Jesus uses his prayer time with the Father to reflect and focus on his life’s mission. Although I’d still be tempted to opt for more sleep, I realize that reflective time in prayer shouldn’t be viewed as some spiritual requirement but rather a miraculous gift that further clarifies who I am and God’s direction in my life.

Lord, I pray that during this Lenten season you would further reveal my call and that I be open to your Spirit’s leading even when it takes me in unexpected directions. Amen. 

Michael Connor

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