Posted by: pmarkrobb | July 6, 2016

steal away to pray

The world in which we live (and our tiny patch of it) often resembles a snowball of burden bounding down the steep side of the proverbial hill.  Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • You’re out of work and in need of the most basic provisions, or overworked and in need of the grandest scale of relief.
  • You’re a single parent in need of three more pairs of hands and a few moments to yourself to breathe, or a two-income family caught on a treadmill that has no buttons to stop or slow the pace.
  • You possess the supposed “gift” of youth, yet feel like you’re drowning in a sea of profound loneliness and the expectations of everyone around you, or a mature soul who can’t figure out how your nest can be empty, while at the same time your life is more harried and complicated than when it was full.

It seems that we’ve cornered the market on bustle and burden, but I can assure you there is nothing new under the sun.  In the early chapters of the gospel of Mark, we find a Savior who is more than familiar with our hurry and hardship.  Mark is the action/adventure gospel.  From its very first verse to its punctuation with the Great Commission, you feel as though you’ve been shot out of a canon.  As the action begins and then builds, you find Jesus surrounded on every side.  Crowds grow and follow him; He is touched and tugged on.  People can’t find their way to Him, so they climb on top of houses and drop people through the roof to be healed.  How does Jesus respond?

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 (NIV)

Actually, the question I just posed is an incorrect one.  Solitude and prayer are not a response, but rather practices which were in Christ’s nature.  As a man, Jesus desired and lived for communion with the Father, and modeled it in a way we would be wise to adopt in our own lives.  Prayer is the breath of life, and solitude heals, nurtures and protects.

And lest you think these practices of prayer and solitude insulated Jesus from the interruptions that seem to plague our lives, read what happens next…

Simon and his companions went to look for Him, and when they found Him, they said, “Everyone is looking for You!”
Mark 1:36-37 (NIV)

Yep, there’s Someone who’s acquainted with our “grief.”

Our world will never stop spinning, and there will rarely be times when someone isn’t looking for us, or will need something from us.  There is work to be done, and even God’s plan for our lives makes demands that will never be satisfied by our own striving.  Don’t chase earthly sources for strategies and aid in managing your time, resources, demands and burdens.  Run to the One who already knows and knows best.  Sit with Him in an out-of-the-way place, unencumbered by the “noise” that too often distracts or drowns out.

Maybe your individual rhythm isn’t “very early in the morning,” and maybe your solitary place will be the size and shape of a closet for now.  But I can assure you these practices of stealing away to truly commune with God in prayer are not ones which were only intended for Jesus.  And they did not require His omnipotent power to pull off.

This change will not be a small one, and Satan won’t be happy that you’re even considering it.  But your world will never stop spinning, and there will never be a perfect time to wait for in beginning.  Steal away and pray today.  Try it again tomorrow.  Ask Jesus to work out the details of this desire in your daily circumstances.  Trust the promise of John 14:14.  Then get ready for what God can do with your patterned discipline of communing with Him in a solitary place.



  1. 🙂 Enjoyable reminder……and privilege.

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