2 Priorities for a Powerful Prayer Life (Matthew 14:22-23)
Matthew 14:22–23, “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”
Jesus was very popular. The crowds sought Him out. Everyone wanted to be with Him! Masses of people followed after Him for various reasons (meals, miracles, monarchy). They either wanted to hear Him, ask Him a question, or get Him to heal a loved one. From daylight to dusk, Jesus was sought after. When the crowd knew He was in town they found Him. Jesus never had a moment alone unless He made it happen. Several times in the Bible we see Jesus getting away from the multitudes and even sending them away (Matthew 14:22-23; 21:17; Mark 1:35; 3:7; 6:46-47; Luke 22:41). It is very important that we spend time alone with God. Perhaps every one of us struggle at times when it comes to making time for prayer. The subject of prayer has been has written about thousands of time to make one more confident and consistent in time spent with the Lord.
1. A Quiet Place.
The first priority is establishing a quiet place that is free from distractions. Prayer is difficult when we are hurried or surrounded by distractions. Prayer is more difficult still when our hearts are withdrawn, when our hearts are distracted, when our hearts are uninterested in praying. When you want to pray, where do you go? Do you have a special place where you enjoy some quiet time? The Lord appeared to Abraham in the plains of Mamre. It is believed this was the place where Abraham communed with God. It was here God answered Abraham’s prayer for a son to be his heir, and it was here he begged God to spare Sodom for his nephew Lot’s sake. Abraham’s place was special to him. It was a sacred place where he met with God. Others had a place where they met with God. Isaac went into the field. Peter resorted to a housetop. Daniel’s place was by an open window. Christ went to a mountain.
The Scottish pastor Thomas Brooks said, “The power of religion and godliness lives, thrives, or dies, as closet [private] prayer lives, thrives, or dies. Godliness never rises to a higher pitch than when men keep closest to their closets.” Your prayer closet is one of the most important places you’ll go to every day. Since we all have busy lives, we have to adjust to what works best. Personally, I feel the best time and place would be early in the mornings in a quiet secluded place at home. However, for some it may be at a restaurant, coffee shop, or office cube. We will never make it through the storms of life without finding a place to meet the Lord. Is there a place in your house or on your property where you feel especially close to God? Do you have a place of prayer? People are counting on you to have a place where you and God meet every day? Find a quiet, peaceful place and let it become your place of prayer.
2. A Quiet Period.
The second priority is having a specific time. Having found a quiet place, we also need a quiet, committed period of time. Despite our best plans, there are times when life gets chaotic. This may mean scheduling a specific time of day in which you talk with the Lord. Although we can take our cares and burdens to the Lord at any time, if we are committed to a consistent prayer life and scheduled time, it will help. For some it will be harder than others to find a quiet hour. This means we may have to sacrifice things that maybe pleasant and profitable. The most important appointment you make every day is the one you make with God.
The Bible is the most important book. When David Livingstone began his trek across Africa in 1852, he carried 73 books which together weighed 180 pounds. After he had gone 300 miles he had to throw away some of the books because it was not feasible to carry so much through the jungle. He continued throwing books away as he went further into the jungle. Eventually his library had shrunk to one book, the Bible, this he did not throw away. The Bible is truly the most important book in the world, yet many read it as if it were the least important.
If Jesus himself needed this time, how much more must we show our dependence on God in this way. Time alone with God is essential to the spiritual well-being of every Christian. The lack of desire to pray is an unmistakable sign that one’s spiritual life is in a process of decline. If this is happening, we must take a hard look at our lives and remove anything that offends God or gets in the way of our relationship with Him. We must then come boldly, but humbly, to Him and renew our commitment to spending time with Him in prayer (Luke 18:1). Prayer is simply talking and interacting with God. It involves two-way communication in which we speak, but also learn to listen for God’s responses and direction
Find a quiet place and a quiet time where you can spend time alone before God. These are priorities to a powerful prayer life along with an effective personal devotion. Jesus always found time to spend with the Father. Since prayer was such an important part in the life of Jesus, how much more important it is to us who are broken and sinful. Time alone with the Lord will be the most comforting time in your day.
Prayer, Lord, I humbly ask You to graciously grant me a heart that desires to pray. Forgive me, I’ve just been struggling with fear and doubt that has troubled the peace I have from You. I commit myself to prayer and I am casting these things Your way right now. I’m choosing not to worry about them anymore because You will deal with them under the authority of Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.