Mark 1:35-39 - Very early in the morning, while it was still dark. Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him they exclaimed, Everyone is looking for you!"
Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
Jesus is up till the wee hours healing; the whole town gathered at his doorstep. And yet, early the next morning, while it is still dark, he sneaks away to a solitary place to pray. And somehow, during that time of prayer, his direction is set for the day ahead.
So even as his disciples come to him, imploring him to come back because “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus responds with clarity: “Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I came.”
Somehow, in his time with the Father, he is reminded of who he is and why he came. He is guided by something far bigger than whim and opinion and circumstance. And so, in spite of enormous pressure for him to return to Capernaum, he heads elsewhere.
And the lesson that follows is so important for us to understand. The lesson is that prayer comes first. It is prayer that helps to remind us of who we are. And it is who we are that helps us to know why we are here. And it is why we are here that is meant to determine what we are to do. The order is significant: prayer, who, why, what. When we get this out of order we operate at the mercy of opinion, pressure, and circumstance, not the Spirit. For if we are not clear about our who and our why, we will never be clear about our what.
Maybe the reason we do not really know who we are is because he have not really learned how to pray. God is dying to tell us, if we will just listen.
O God, help my what to always be determined by you—not me, not others, not needs, not circumstances. Guide me this day. Remind me of who I am and of why I am here. I pray this in your name and for your glory. Amen.