“He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”—Matthew 14:23
Most of us are living on the edge of a great secret.
I have walked with the Lord for many years. Since I teach the Bible and serve in ministry, I'd like to think I've found a level of closeness and deep understanding with the Lord. I certainly feel loved by Him, but He has been inviting me to something deeper, following the example of Jesus.
Jesus had just heard terrible news. King Herod had ordered the beheading of John the Baptist.
“When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place” (Matthew 14:13).
Faced with tragic, heartbreaking news, Jesus knew He needed to get away to be alone with His Father.
But the crowds continued to follow Him by foot, so “He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” He took care of them, ordering His disciples to feed the people a miraculous meal that fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. After Jesus prayed for the people and fed them until they were satisfied, He finally did what He needed to do:
“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”
During His ministry, Jesus often went away to pray. He needed to temporarily escape the press of the crowd and the multitude of needs.
This was the secret of His life and strength!
He found a place of daily intimacy with the Father. The disciples recognized that. They saw Jesus retreat, then come back strengthened and refreshed in a powerful way. They knew something happened to Him when He stole away, so they asked Him to teach them to pray (see Luke 11). They wanted what He experienced in the secret place of prayer. I want that too!
Today, when the news is so often heartbreaking,we need those intimate times with the Father.
There’s more to prayer than we have been experiencing.
It begins with taking time every day to spend time alone with our heavenly Father. That precious time will make a tremendous difference in your life. I know I am learning and experiencing God in a deeper way.