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Mark 1:32–35 

‘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.’ (v35)

Living every day with Jesus is to discover how to grow as a disciple by considering all Jesus said and did. Here, at the start of Mark’s Gospel, we see Jesus getting up ‘very early’ to pray. There is nothing sacred about first light, but I, like many, find this the best time for personal prayer. There are very few distractions, and the symbolism of the dawn is a stimulus for prayer. What’s most important is to find our own ‘solitary place’ in life’s busyness in which to encounter God.

Jesus was disturbed by His disciples, and our days present constant interruptions and demands that risk robbing us of quality time with God. There are always arrow prayers when busy, but a relationship must suffer when continually interrupted by the incessant stream of daily demands. Activity displaces presence even as intimacy deteriorates.

It’s important to learn how to establish a prayer life and create time alone with God. We’re challenged by confusion, not knowing where to begin, whilst also suffering from doubts and fears. School exists to teach us how to navigate life. In same way, this solitary place becomes our schoolroom, essential for learning faithfulness in living and serving God in a secular society. We also need fellowship, but not in exchange for our personal, intimate relationship with God. We cannot afford to rely on being carried on the worship of God’s people alone. Jesus ensured He got this balance absolutely right; without it He would have struggled to fulfil His ministry on earth.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Gen. 32:24–32; Jer. 9:1–6; Mark 6:30–34; Luke 5:12–16.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you find the thought of a solitary prayer space? Will you organise to take time alone with God and free from distraction every day?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to establish a time and space where You and I can meet alone every day. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.