A Most Important Thing
John Telgren

What is the most important practice Jesus had in his ministry? While many might disagree with what it might have been, I think most of us would agree that prayer was one of the most important things. This is illustrated in the following story when Jesus went to Capernaum.

"When evening came, after the sun had set, they {began} bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left {the house,} and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and *said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You." He *said to them, "Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for (Mark 1:32-38)."

Jesus had begun preaching and healing, that this certainly got people's attention. People began to come to him bringing their sick. Boy how he must have displayed the power of God late into the night. Jesus could have stayed right there while people brought their sick, diseased, and demonized people to him. He could have stayed there and had a powerful ministry doing good in this way.

While it was dark, Jesus went away to a private place. Simon and others found him and told him that everyone was looking for him. I can imagine that there were many more sick and hurting people that came to Jesus looking for wholeness. Many of us might be inclined to go back, or to have stayed to reach out to all those sick and hurting people. But notice what Jesus did. He walked away. One of the things that Jesus always made time for was to go away and spend time with God in prayer. Sometimes he prayed all night long. I don't know what he would say all night long. Perhaps he said nothing. It is conceivable that one could pray without saying a word, but just spend time in communion with God.

Sometimes the most important thing you can do is pray. Sometimes it is more important than ministering to sick and hurting people. Not all the time, but there are times when prayer is the most important thing. Without prayer, you can become burned out, or worse, you could lose your focus.

Jesus didn't lose his focus, although there were many, many times he potentially could have lost his focus. He could have stayed in Nazareth and lived out his life as a carpenter, but didn't. He would have stayed Capernaum and healed sick and hurting people, but didn't. He could have listened to Peter's rebuke and avoided going to the cross, but didn't. He was alert in prayer in the garden, and even on the cross.

We need to make prayer a priority as Jesus did.