Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles:
Reflection from Jan Weber:
Have you ever spent the night in prayer? I have and I’m guessing most of you reading this have also. I prayed because there was nothing else to do-they were desperate prayers-pleading prayers, prayers for God to intervene. But this is different. This is the end of an ordinary day for Jesus. There were crowds, big crowds, and he has been teaching, healing, and the Pharisees have been hanging around trying to trip him up, hoping he will say something they can use to discredit him. Jesus steals away, goes to the mountains and spends the night in prayer.
Why? I am asking myself. This is Jesus. He and God are one. He does not need to go off to seek God. But it is solitude, being in God’s presence he is seeking. Verse 13 gives us the reason. He has a big decision to make. Many people are following him, listening to his teachings. He wants to choose a small group, 12 only, to become his apostles. According to the NIV Study Bible, apostles are “ones sent with a special commission.” These will be the ones that he will prepare for carrying on his work. The decision is an important one.
In Ruth Haley Barton’s book, “Sacred Rhythms”, she writes of the importance of solitude in our prayer life. Some quotes which I find meaningful, “The longing for solitude is the longing for God”; ”Solitude is a place inside myself where God’s sprit and my spirit dwell together in union”. Ms Barton urges us to find that place of union with God. Choose a place she says, that feels comfortable away from noise and distractions. Sit quietly, breathe deeply, becoming aware of God’s presence with you and your desire to be present with God. Don’t rush or try to make anything happen. Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
Thank you Jesus for showing us how to pray. Thank you for praying that night so long ago. Instead of sleeping, you prayed for guidance in choosing the 12 apostles to carry out your work. Thank you to the apostles and the crowd of witnesses down through the years who have kept your teachings alive so that we here in Des Plaines, Il in 2018 know of you and the amazing God we serve. Teach us to pray by finding solitude in our souls so our spirits will find comfort and peace with you. May we continue to proclaim your word, so others might know you. In Jesus’ name, Amen