In our study today, we will see that Yeshua woke up very early to go to a secluded place to pray.
Morning Prayer Before the Mundane
Let us open our Bibles to Mark chapter 1. Beginning with v.35, we are brought to a very particular moment in the life of Yeshua… a valuable piece of information about a habit He pursued. In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
See that this precious instant is emphasized by the Spirit of God who inspired Mark with another double time marker. It would have been enough for us to read “in the early morning, Jesus got up”. Or it would have been enough to read, “while it was still dark, Jesus got up”. But, just in this one verse, the moment is highlighted by two descriptions of time, early morning and still dark. Why? Surely because it introduces a very important aspect of the life of Jesus – His prayer time. We understand that this was His habit, for the expression, was praying is in the imperfect tense, meaning He would regularly pray. He would pray as He was taught in His youth. In His humanity, Yeshua was taught and trained to pray every morning.
People often question whether this particular verse speaks of Isaiah the prophet or of Yeshua the Messiah. Chapter 50:4b is part of a larger section of Isaiah, from chapters 40-53 which speak about the Servant of the Lord, the Suffering One, the Righteous and Exalted Servant. Who else but the Servant Himself could claim this description of such perfect a man in character and obedience? No ordinary man or even prophet could. Here in verses 5-6 is described a Servant “who is not rebellious nor turning backward, one who gave His back to those who strike and His cheeks to those who want to pull out His beard. And so, we see how this verse 4 also addresses the Servant in terms of His human mission and His pedagogic training.
He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. Isaiah 50:4b
Here we are told that God Himself awakened Yeshua morning by morning to pray, to learn, and to converse. These words also tell us that Yeshua’s first thoughts in the morning were for God and with God. It is something we must work towards as well, for these are our best moments with God. It is how God spoke to Jesus in His youth, but it is also how He will speak to us when we give Him the time.
We understand that this was a known pattern with believers in the Scriptures. While David did not have the Book of Mark nor that of Isaiah to learn from, he nevertheless understood this great truth.
Listen to the words of David: My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. Psalm 5:3
Here we are taught that morning time was the best time for prayer before we go on to our mundane affairs. From this verse, the Mishnah (the Jewish Oral Law) goes on to say even more. It says that even before the time of the morning prayer, one should spend one full hour in meditation on the Word.
Notice in Mark 1:35 the word secluded – Yeshua went to a secluded place. It is the same Greek word which describes a wilderness. That means away from the distractions of this world, a place alone to have a time with the Lord.
Intimacy in the Inner Room
Yeshua emphasized this point during His sermon of the Mount. He tells us there:
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:6
Prayer – all types of prayers – begin when you go to your wilderness which Matthew calls your inner room. This is a solitary room. At that time, a room that was inner, was without windows, without any distractions. It is there where Yeshua says you are to shut your door and pray to your Father. This is where it all starts.
It is a time of deep meditation, an essential part of our life as believers. It is the time when we learn to experience the presence of God. How else would we recognize Him if we don’t spend time with Him?
Remember this verse in Romans 8:26 when the Spirit inspired these powerful words:
For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
This verse tells us that the Spirit of God helps us in our prayer and teaches us what to say and how to say it. The more you pray, the more you will experience the Lord’s presence, and the faster you will perceive His voice and discern what His will is concerning different matters. That is why this type of prayer is vital to our growth.
Many today wake up after the snooze button has already sounded, perhaps because they went to bed late the night before, and so now they are in too much of a hurry to find a time to pray. But times of prayer should be planned in advance.
It is a much too precious part of our sanctification to just pass over. If you are in hurry, remember that it is not necessarily the length of time one spends in prayer that makes it efficient. I believe it was Charles Spurgeon who once said:
“Some pray by the yard; but true prayer is measured by weight, and not by length.”