“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed…” (Mark 1:35)
I hate getting up early.
Emma Pearl, my 20-month old daughter, has a troubling tendency to extend a wake-up call to her parents about 2:00 am, then again at 3:30 am, and then again at 5:30 am. In short, these words from scripture, “In the morning, while it was still very dark” have become more than merely an idea in our household; these have been our daily experience.
Now, Jen and I are very religious people. So, of course, when we wake up at these awful hours, our first inclination is to offer a prayer:
“God, help us.” Or, “Lord, I will do anything!”
Jesus awoke early, not due to an accident or an interruption, but with intent. He went to a deserted place, a quiet place.
Why? I believe it was to listen. Do you know the sound of silence? Often, God speaks in the silence of our lives.
Dan Rather, former CBS anchor, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Rather turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.”
Lent is a season for listening. We get excited thinking about Jesus teaching and preaching, performing miracles and working wonders. But we may miss something so simple and so sacred that happened early one morning, maybe early every morning; Jesus woke up early and went away to pray.
This Lenten Season, take time to step away; it may be early in the morning or late at night. It may be over a cup of coffee or a glass of sweet tea. It may be taking a hike up Stone Mountain or sitting on the back porch watching the sunset.
And, if you need to speak, say “God, help us.” Or, “Lord, I will do anything!”
These are not perfect prayers, but they help your pastor and his wife at 3:00 am. And, perhaps, these prayers may help us all this Lent as we journey with Jesus.