The passage for today is Mark 1:29-39. You can read this passage online or on your phone by following along with The Essential Jesus reading plan on bible.com, or you can read it in your physical Bible. Take a few minutes to read Mark 1:29-39 carefully, inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read.
What did you see in the text? What is the main point being communicated? Here are some of the things that I saw.
Mark describes an amazing couple of days in Capernaum at the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. Simon’s (Peter) mother in law was sick in bed at his home, and Jesus healed her. That night, word spread throughout the town about what Jesus could do, and all kinds of folks showed up at Simon’s house. The sick came. The demon-possessed came. And Jesus healed people with all kinds of diseases, and he drove out many demons that night.
Before the sun came up the next day, Jesus went off by himself to pray. I often think of prayer as something I do to repair my soul, or to receive power for mission. I think of it in practical terms – what can I get from it. (This is not the proper way to think about prayer, by the way.) But what did Jesus lack? He is the Son of God! Jesus prayed to experience communion with the Father. He prayed because Fathers and Sons talk to each other. It wasn’t about what he got out of prayer that drove him to it; it was the promise of communion with the Father whom he loved, and who loved him.
There are many great things that we can do for God. We can plant churches and go on mission trips. We can preach the Gospel and heal the sick. We can care for the needy and invite the fatherless into our homes. And we should do these things. But we cannot neglect what Jesus emphasized – prayer. Of all the things we do for God, time spent with God is more important. Love for the Father is the engine that powers our ministry. If our love falters, our ministry will sputter. Whatever you do, do not neglect prayer!
Father, I love you. You love me, and I know that because you have given me your only Son as the sacrifice for my sins. Help me to be attentive to our relationship, and not only to speak to you, but also to listen for your voice. Amen.