Pastor Thomas Smith   -  

“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.”¬†Matthew 14:23

As Jesus taught the Word of God and healed the sick, the crowds continued to grow. Multitudes thronged Him, wanting to hear and touch Him, and longing to see another one of His miracles. Amazed at the mighty power of His words and deeds, they gathered their friends and loved ones who were hurting, that the loving touch and compassionate message of Jesus might transform their lives. As His popularity increased and the crowds grew, there was something that Jesus needed that became increasingly difficult to find. He needed time alone, to pray, to rest, and to have communion with His Father. The Scripture records that “he went up into a mountain apart to pray.”

We should realize that if Jesus needed this time of prayer and solitude, so do we. Helpful lessons are embedded in this Scripture. We see that Jesus withdrew Himself. It was a deliberate choice that He made. If we are going to spend time with the Lord, we are going to have to take the necessary steps for that to be possible. To do this, we must be convinced of the necessity of a relationship with God that includes private prayer. Then we must arrange our schedules so that this is a priority. It will require denying certain other conflicting activities that will compete for the time we need to reserve for God. Some of those things may be good things, but they stand in the way of the best use of our time. We must choose to withdraw ourselves from all interferences.

We also see that Jesus prayed. This was not a time of solitude spent in leisure. He was not getting away from the crowds because they were bothersome to Him. He needed time to pray. We also need to spend time in prayer. We need to pray because it is good for us to spend time with the Lord. It is good for us to cast our cares on Him, knowing that He cares for us. It is also good for others. Time spent alone with God will make us more capable to meet the needs of others. In our time of prayer, we are able to lift the needs of others to God. Time spent in prayer is, likewise, good for God. We were created to bring pleasure to Him. We have been redeemed that we might fellowship with our Creator. May God help us to withdraw from our busyness and pray.