MATTHEW 14:22-25 NKJV
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
When you are reading your bible always look for the verse or phrase that seems to stand out to you. It may be just a couple of words, but if you’ll go back and look further, the Lord can reveal even more to you. The phrase that stood out to me as I was reading this chapter is, “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.”
Jesus had just been instrumental in accomplishing a major miracle. He fed between 7-10 thousand people with five loaves and two fish. The people were so moved and impressed by this miracle that John tells us they were going to try to take Jesus by force to make Him king.
But Jesus sent everyone away. And He did not let the disciples bask too long in the glow of this miracle and sent them across the lake. Then Jesus sent the multitudes away. And when everyone was gone, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.
And He stayed in prayer. According to most Jewish records, the evening was considered sunset. Jesus was alone in the mountains at sunset and praying until the fourth watch when He walked on the sea to go to His disciples. The fourth watch is between 3-6 am. So Jesus had spent hours in prayer.
It is too easy to forget that Jesus did not walk in divine omnipotence when He was on the earth. He laid that aside and came as a man. Sinless and spotless, the Son of God and the Son of man. He did not know everything. He was dependent upon His Heavenly Father. I realize this goes against much of what people have thought. But if we examine the scriptures, we find that Jesus was our example because He lived as a man empowered by the Holy Spirit. He was subject to being tempted just as we are, yet He never sinned. When we say Jesus is Lord and Saviour, we are telling the truth. And when we say Jesus is our example, we don’t get as many nods of affirmation, but we are still telling the truth.
So if Jesus prayed, we should pray. If Jesus needed alone time with His heavenly Father, we need alone time with our Heavenly Father. Even though our role and responsibility is not as massive as what Jesus carried, He was far stronger spiritually. Our role is smaller, but so is our spiritual strength. It was Jesus who told us to watch and pray so that we don’t enter into temptation (Mark 14:38). And it was Jesus who gave His disciples a pattern of prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus prayed, we should pray.
This devotional is a great reminder for me. It is so easy to get busy with life and forget to fit prayer in. But that may be the problem. We keep trying to fit prayer in instead of making prayer a priority.
So let’s level up in this area. Wherever you are in your prayer life, go one step more.
If prayer was important to Jesus, it’s important to us.
Lord - forgive me for not treating prayer as the privilege that it is. I purpose to level up in the prayer department.