The Sabbath had been anything but a day of rest for Him who was its Lord! He had taught in the synagogue, casting an evil spirit out of one of the people there. Then He retreated to the home of Peter and Andrew where He healed Peter’s mother-in-law. After darkness set in there was a knock at the door—”the whole town” was there (Mark 1:33). They had brought with them all who were in need of His special touch. When He was done ministering to them, He must have sought out the sleep of the exhausted—but not for long. Very early, while it was still dark outside, He rose from His slumber and left the house for an uninhabited place where He sought His Father in prayer (v. 35).
I don’t think Jesus had any more time to pray than we do but I do think He understood that He didn’t have time not to take time to pray. I do think He sought that special communion with His Father because He understood how marginalized life is without it.
Some of the same people who were with Him at that house in Capernaum would later be told not to go anywhere but to wait in Jerusalem. So that’s what they did. They pored over the Scripture. They appointed a replacement for Judas. And “they all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14).
A little more than a week later, some extraordinary things happened in Jerusalem. There were tongues of fire, men praising God in languages they had never studied, and three thousand people passing out of death and into life. And that was all before lunch.
No doubt about it, the things recorded in Acts 2 get the headlines but I wonder if any of them would have happened without the waiting of Acts 1? And don’t you love God’s sense of irony that a book called Acts of the Apostles begins with the apostles being commanded to wait?
And they learned how to wait from the One who got up while it was still dark to seek His Father in prayer. We must understand it’s not just that Jesus prayed, it’s what got Him out of bed in the morning! Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning, don’t they? For most of us, it’s the necessity of work, school, or some other obligation. In other words, we get out of bed because we have to. For a few vibrant souls it’s something more—something higher. It’s more the matter of there being something that makes them want to get out of bed. Prayer can help us have that kind of relationship with our Father. And what gets you out of bed in the morning?