In These Days He Prayed All Night

“He entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’ And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?’ And after looking around at them all he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.

“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

“He came down with them and stood.., with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon,  who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: ‘Blessed are you..'” Luke 6:6-13,17-20

Jesus lived His public ministry in constant pressure. He couldn’t even feed His friends or exhibit compassion and heal without being criticized. The Pharisees were relentless in accusation and schemes, the needy crowds relentless in their pursuit of magical relief. In these strain-filled days, long hours that required wisdom, clear thinking, and physical energy, He spent all night in prayer. When the press around Him was greatest, His need for grace and mental acuity was greatest, and as Son of Man, He sought His supreme Source. (Luke 6:1-5)

Up on the mountain, Jesus was unfettered and quiet. Up on the mountain, He drew close to heaven to gain holy perspective. Up on the mountain, He understood the long view, and was reminded why He had come and what was His mission. It’s easy to get distracted, and dissuaded from your purpose, in the noisy crowd of the valley. (John 6:38; 10:10)

Coming down off that mountain, out of that time to refocus and refresh, Jesus was filled with power to discern, effectively call, minister, teach, and bless.

What activities and demands fill my days? Do they rule me? Do I let them inextricably consume my thoughts and emotions? Do they deplete me of vitality? Do they distort my far vision and focus? What could the Lord do in my nights— my time of alone, reflection, away from worldly glare, season of communion with Him— that would adjust and correct my daily perspective? Will I take advantage?

Father, keep me in balance with my coming and going, my mountain soak and valley tension, my quiet and noise, my filling and pouring out. Help me guard and value my nights with You during the frenziest of days.

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