Praying With Intention | Mark 1:35

35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark,
he departed and went out to a desolate place,
and there he prayed.

Remember that this takes place the morning after Christ’s long Sabbath day.  One might wrongly expect Him to sleep in, but He arises “very early in the morning.”  Reaching seclusion, (the NASB captures the tense of the verb) He “was praying there.”  He sought uninterrupted quiet and focused on His time with the Father. 

Prayer is vital, both morning and anytime.  If the Son of God dare not begin His day of ministry without time with His Father, then how much more should we value it?  Indeed, He did not only start the day with prayer, but we read in Matthew 14:23 that He “dismissed the crowds” and “went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”  Luke 5:16 is less specific on the timeframes—“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”  We cannot be definitive on the exact length of His prayer-times, but He was intentional and protective of His prayer time.

Prayer is vital, especially when others need ministry.  Jesus continues his ministry in the following verses, so He prays now.  He didn’t allow anything to overtake His communion with the Father, knowing how vital it is.  It’s easy to focus on all the work and shorten prayer.  Indeed, with all that needs to be done, He arises early to have plenty of time to pray.  Life will always be a balance between the needs of others and our own need to spend time with God, and our Lord models this equilibrium.


Prayer is vital only through Christ.  Prayer isn’t us pulling down power from heaven.  God isn’t obligated to hear the prayers of unbelievers (Jn 9:31) or prayers for personal lusts (Js 4:3).  Only a prayer in Jesus’s name is an effective prayer (Jn 14:13), meaning that we must pray according to His will (1 John 5:14).  Thankfully, Christ lived the life that we fail to live, and He intercedes for believers (Jn 17).  We must trust completely in Him for the sake of our prayers and likewise value the time of communion with the Triune God.

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