“And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.”
(Matthew 14: 23)
And so often Jesus was seen by His disciples how He went off into a quiet place to pray.
Remember earlier in the day how thousands of people came to Jesus and how marvelous was He.who instead of turning them away, He went about doing the impossible, feeding them all, over five thousand, with leftovers.
Remember when the little boy came forth, and offered to Jesus his five loaves and two fishes. I can just imagine how moved these people were by this example of this little child, giving to Jesus all what he had to share.
Then, it was time to go.
“And immediately Jesus constrained the disciples to get into a ship, and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away” ( Matthew 14:22 ).
So Jesus said to the disciples to go on ahead, get in the boat and go over to the other side. and when He had sent the multitudes away, He went to “chill out” He went to get something to eat? No, the Scriptures say Jesus went up into a mountain apart from it all to…..,pray:
“And when the evening was come He was there alone”.( Matthew 14:23 )
Okay, so as I was mulling over this series of events, and how exhausting it must have been for Jesus and I wondered out loud to myself how many times after a busy day how I just wanted to disconnect and “relax” get “re-energized “. And yet, how often I feel just as afterwards, zapped of strength.
It had been an extremely hard day. Jesus had received the terrible news of His cousin John who had been beheaded by Herod. And Jesus felt it sort of important to just get alone for awhile. So He got into the ship with the disciples, and they headed over to the other side……
But…. the people seeing the direction that they were going, run around the upper part of the Galilee, and meet Him when the ship landed.
And there they were again, the multitude. And what does Jesus do? He runs for cover and hides away? No, Jesus spends the day…., ministering to them, even though He is most likely weary emotionally, because of what had happened to His cousin John who was beheaded by Herod.
Hard day, troubling news, physically exhausted, time to really just chill out, but instead Jesus goes up into a mountain apart to pray.
Oh, the importance that prayer had in the life of Jesus….
Got me to thinking that if He Jesus, being the Son of God felt the necessity to be strengthened through prayer on these kinds of occasions, how much more we, weak, failing followers of Him need to spend time in prayer……to be strengthened by God.
We might say, oh, it”s time to really get a rest. I really need to get a nap. I really need to get my strength. But instead Jesus goes up, and spends the evening, the night in prayer according to another gospel. But for Jesus, prayer was His place of strength. He discovered it to be a place of great strength.
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
(Isaiah 40:29- Psalm 73:26)
Even as we can discover that prayer is a place of great strength indeed.
God loves when we pray for strength, He promises to answer you:
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”
So, when we have given everything we have to give our, when our strength is zapped, although a good nap , a quiet reading of a favorite book might help, don’t underestimate the benefits of prayer, especially when we’re spent. We can have confidence that God is ready to pour some of His own strength into us when we’re empty, and we can forge ahead : “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Pray for the strength that God supplies, keep your eyes open for His answers. They may not look like your expectations., but you can be sure that even when He answers with a weakening agent, God is working to strengthen your understanding, strengthen your faith, and strengthen your hope in Him.
Jesus modeled for us how to tap into God’s endless supply of strength that we might follow His lead, and so when we don’t feel like it, and when we feel like we can’t do much else, pray and you’d be surprised how God is prepared to answer and fill you with what you need.