Finding Holy Leisure in the Gospel of Mark

Day 1 of 4 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Finding Rest in Prayer


Jesus had spent both a physically and emotionally exhausting day with his disciples in Capernaum. He had taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, cast an unclean spirit out of a man, and healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever. By sundown, the whole city was at the door with their sick and demon-oppressed, and he healed many of them. Talk about a full day!


But the next morning, while it was still dark (and he was probably still tired), Jesus got up to go pray.


He was gone long enough for Peter and the disciples to search for him. When they found him, there was a hint of annoyance in Peter’s response. “Everyone is looking for you.” Jesus, ignoring whatever tone Peter might have conveyed, responded “Let us go to the next town, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out” (Mark 1:38).


Resolved and determined, Jesus’ time in prayer confirmed that moving onto Galilee was his next order of business.


Before Jesus prayed…


Could Jesus have been considering a different course than to continue to Galilee? If there had been any doubt before, there was not now. Jesus knew this pre-dawn appointment with his Father was where his strength lay. He needed communion with his Father, to handle the pressures and the decisions of his upcoming day.


The demands on Jesus’ time and attention were extraordinary. Yet, Jesus’ busyness didn’t move him off his God-given course. He didn’t use rest as an excuse to miss out on prayer. It probably drove him to pursue God because he was exhausted. His human limitations reminded him of his desperate need to be in close fellowship with God. 


After Jesus prayed…


He confidently moved forward to the next town. He was unapologetic about seeking God’s will, and he reaffirmed his God-given purpose on earth.


Could busyness be snuffing out what business God may have for you? May we choose to follow Jesus’ example of seeking God first, even when we’re tired, because that’s where we’ll find true rest for our souls.