“In these days [Jesus] went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon,.. and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot.
“And he came down with them and stood on a level place, 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 6:12-20a
“And he went up on the mountain to pray. When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he came to them.” “When it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place.” Mark 6:46-48; Luke 4:42
Jesus’s public ministry was packed full, morning to night, with seemingly little room for sleep or solitude. But Jesus made getting alone with His Father a priority, stealing away for time in sequestered prayer throughout His ongoing work. He knew the importance of climbing high and drawing close to gain vision and insight, to renew stamina. From short seasons with His Father flowed wise choices, holy compulsion, a divine pace, power in ministry, and blessing to others.
Getting out to and up a mountain takes effort. It takes planning, scheduling, sometimes training in order to prepare the right muscles. Going to heights of the Lord takes being willing to traverse rugged terrain and face clouds of conviction that may ensue. Is time at the mount with our Lord a top and daily priority? What time have I set aside, and what commitment and faith muscles need be exercised into strength of habit? Does my functional fitness include my spirit, so I can tackle duties, service, and relationships with the mind and heart of Christ?
Where do I need particular help, grace, or guidance? What decisions or efforts need the Lord’s wisdom? Am I depleted, weary, needing renewal of soul or restoration of body? What effort at work or difficulty at home needs God’s divine favor or solution? Go out to the mountain! Meet with God there! He who went before us is there to meet us, eager to commune and restore, to teach and invigorate. (Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2)
“Savior, lead me up the mountain,
Where the Lord alone is seen,
Where we hear the voice from heaven,
Where the air is pure and clean.
Lead me higher up the mountain,
Give me fellowship with Thee;
Higher up where light increases,
Where the strain of efforts cease.” ~Philip Paul Bliss (1838-1876)
Lord, help me take daily gleanings of love and light and wisdom from Your heights back to the lowlands.