Pause performance pressure
The whole town gathered at the door to watch. So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases… Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. — Mark 1:33, 34a, 36 NLT
If I were Jesus, I would have been having a “stand back” moment. The whole town gathered at the door? Um, some space here, people?
Come to think of it, maybe I am like Jesus—at least a little. I don’t have the whole authentic, always sinless thing going, yeah, no, I don’t always have the sinless thing going, oof, goof, work-in-progress here, but when squished, oh, yes, I get up and go to my isolated place to pray. To be clear, this is not a want. This is a need.
This prayer time—this isolated time with God—may benefit from a different name because most often when I think of the word prayer, or I consider the act of prayer, my thoughts and words are petitions to God. I pray for this and that. I pray for so and so.
I don’t think Jesus is petitioning God here (as in Lord, take this cup from me (Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42)). I think Jesus is regrouping, restocking and returning to God to realign and restore Himself with God. He is taking performance pressure away.
Crowd gathering is something Jesus encountered regularly. And crowds then are like crowds now. Some cheered him. Some jeered him. Some set on him what he wasn’t. Some never saw who he was.
But time alone with God? Let this be familiar. Shutting down the press and the pressure to seek solace, self-care, introspection, reflection, rejuvenation and rest? Yes, do this, no matter how the day breaks.
PRAYER: Lord, we all experience performance pressure of some kind, even when people don’t literally gather at a door to watch us. Help us respond to those times when we need to center in silence with You and You alone. Amen.