If you struggle to make space for time with God, this passage can help you. Sometimes the excessive demands of life require that you get more rest. God knows about your physical needs; he cares about you and he doesn’t want you to get worn down. But he also knows that you need to connect with him each day. The more you serve, in fact, the more depleted you may feel, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Which means the more you need to be replenished by resting in the company of your heavenly Father.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
The hour when Jesus arose to pray was not just early; according to Scripture scholars, it was more like the middle of the night! After such an exhausting day ministering to people, why did Jesus willingly sacrifice sleep? We might think that he didn’t need to make such a sacrifice. After all, he was doing so much good work for the sake of the kingdom. Why not catch up on prayer later? Yet clearly, Jesus’ greater need was to spend time in the company of his Father—even at the cost of his rest.
When the disciples find him, they try to press him into even more service (Mark 1:37). But despite the time of day, despite his lack of sleep, and despite the interruption, Jesus tells Simon that he wants to leave that place. It was time to visit the nearby villages in order to preach to the people there (1:38). Refreshed by his prayer and aware of his calling, Jesus is ready to move on.
The next time you feel sapped by the demands of life, call to mind Jesus’ dedication to spending time with his Father. By all means, make an effort to get some extra sleep. But at the same time, don’t forgo your time with God. Prayer will reenergize you and supply you with all that you need. It will enable you to serve as he did—with strength, conviction, and even joy.
“When I feel too tired to pray, Lord, remind me of the rich reward of time in your presence.”
(Inspired by: Word Among Us- India edition)