A few days ago, during my regular course of Bible reading, I was struck by these verses:
But so much more there went abroad a fame of [Jesus], and great multitudes came together to hear and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness and prayed. — Luke 5:15, 16
“He withdrew Himself and prayed.” Jesus was increasingly gaining in fame. The word was out that when this man prayed for people, they were healed. They were set free of demons. Of course the crowds came!
Jesus could have looked at the vast number of people with heartbreaking needs, groaned with compassion over them, and said, “Father, I know I should spend time with You. I want to, really I do, but the needs are so great. I must minister to them.”
He didn’t do it. Jesus, the most compassionate man who ever lived, stepped away from it all for a time to pray. He knew where His source of strength lay — in time communing with His heavenly Father.
Many times, we get so busy with the urgent things that we justify neglecting prayer. We grow lax about absorbing the Lord’s Presence through reading His Word. We don’t recognize that the anxiety (even panic!) we are experiencing about all that needs doing is a direct result of not spending time with Him.
We have to take care of the children, clean the house, cook the meals, and keep the appointments. In some cases, there are extended family members to care for — an elderly parent, for instance. The larger the family, the harder it is to keep from drowning in all that must be done. For those who homeschool, there is an additional layer of stress because of all the time teaching our children requires. And in our day, many homeschool moms are also trying to add to the family income through an online business or blog. Where does it all end, besides in a nervous breakdown?
Jesus lived with more stress overload than any of us have even begun to approach. He had more demands placed on Him than we can imagine. Yet He stayed peaceful through it all. Why? Because He put His time with God above all else.
Prayer is a lot like tithing. When we tithe (give ten percent of our income to the Lord), something supernatural happens with our finances. We step into God’s economy. Because we are putting Christ and His kingdom first, our remaining dollars stretch farther. Unexpected money comes in when we need it most. The car and the appliances last longer without needing repairs.
The principle for prayer is the same. When we spend time with the Lord, making Him first, our days run more smoothly. We enter God’s time economy, where we get so much more accomplished than we otherwise would have, without knowing quite how that happened. He “orders our steps” (Psalm 37:23) as we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and “all these things are added unto us” (Matthew 6:33).
If you are tired and weary, and panic is rising inside, or if you are feeling depressed because you just can’t keep up, perhaps the answer is to take a deep breath and step aside from it all into prayer.
The Lord spoke to me about this principle during a time of great stress in my own life. He reminded me that when I fasten my attention upon Him, He becomes my sanctuary, my place of safety. And then He said, “You just need to know that as you behold Me, the stress will fall off.”
I did just that, focusing my thinking upon Him instead of all the things I had to do. Within minutes, His peace settled in. Life suddenly didn’t seem nearly as daunting as it had just moments before.
God has a knack for making those huge, daunting mountains seem smaller. He will help you to set priorities — to know what is important and what should fall by the wayside. It comes by placing Him foremost on the schedule.
I know it doesn’t sound logical, if you’re already so pressed for time, to use up still more time on prayer. God’s ways are often not logical, and yet, without us knowing how, they work.
Give it a try — and keep trying persistently. If it worked for Jesus, it will work for us, too.
Character Building for Families, by Lee Ann Rubsam