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September 23, 2012
"Cultivating a Quiet Time"
Read Mark 1:21-39.
Why should we cultivate a quiet time?
First, Jesus felt the need for it (Mark 1:35). 1) Despite a full day of ministry
(1:21-34), Jesus got up the next morning very early, before daybreak (about
4:00 A. M.) and went out to a solitary ("uninhabited," "remote") place where He
spent time praying. The Gospels hint that these prayer retreats were regular habits
of Jesus. 2) Jesusí devotion to prayer was seen by the disciples and impressed
them to ask Him to teach them to pray (cf. Luke 11:1-4).
Second, Jesus prayed to gain strength when faced with short cuts to doing Godís will.
1) Mark selectively portrayed Jesus at prayer on three crucial occasions, each in
a setting of darkness and solitude. All three were occasions when He was faced with
the possibility of achieving His messianic mission in a more attractive, less costly
way (a short cut). But in each case He gained strength through prayer. a) Near the
beginning of his account (Mark 1:35). He withdrew from the acclaim of the
Capernaum crowds to a wilderness place (the kind where He initially confronted Satan
and withstood His temptations Ė cf. Matthew 4:1-11). b) Near the middle Ė after the Feeding of the
Four Thousand (Mark 6:46). c) Near the end Ė here Jesus faced His greatest challenge
( Mark 14:32-42). 2) Because of His victory over the temptation
to take shortcuts, Jesus is our help in time of need (cf. Hebrews 4:14-16).
Third, quiet times release Godís Resources for us. 1) Through quiet times,
God provides spiritual armor to "stand firm" against the Devilís schemes
(strategies) (cf. Ephesians 6:10-18, especially verse 18). 2) Prayer dispels worry
(cf. Philippians 4:4-9). a) "Do not be anxious about anything"
(4:6). b) "But in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present
your requests to God" (4:6). c) The result will be: "And the peace of God, which
transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
(4:7). 3) To further strengthen our prayer life, we are instructed to do two additional
things: a) guard our thought life because input affects output (4:8) and
b) practice the spiritual truths you are learning (4:9). The result
will be: "And the God of peace will be with you (4:9).
How is your prayer life?