#202 "Sweet Communion"
June 7, 2011
"As often as possible, Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer." (Luke 5:16 The Message)
He rose early in the morning while it was still dark. On tip-toe, He made His way around His sleeping friends. Laying a hand on each one, He smiled and whispered how He loved them so. They needed their sleep because the road ahead would be steep and long. They didn't fully understand what was happening and they would need all of the strength they could muster for the coming days. Let them sleep. A time was near when slumber wouldn't be as sweet.
He moved quietly out of the house and felt the coolness of the Jerusalem morning on His skin. Wrapping His cloak a little tighter around His shoulders, He made His way toward the hills; the hills that His very own hands had created. His sandaled feet grew wet with the morning dew, until He found just the right solitary place, to get down on His knees, and begin to pray.
Oh, that we could have been hiding a stone's throw away to eavesdrop on those moments. Wrapped in our own cloaks to keep us from the morning chill, what would our ears have heard? Something so supernatural. Something so beyond our finite human understanding. God talking to God. Son speaking to Father. The Only Begotten enjoying sweet communion with the Majesty in heaven.
Scattered throughout the Scriptures, we are given glimpses of Jesus praying to His Father. He prayed as He was being baptized, and the heavens opened to the Father's voice as He told His Son that He loved Him and that He was well pleased. Jesus was heard praying right before Lazarus walked out of the tomb. He offered prayers of thanksgiving before His last earthly supper with His friends. At that same supper He prayed aloud for Himself, His friends and get this…He prayed for you. (John 17:20-26) One night, in an olive grove, Scripture allows us to listen in on the soon to be Lamb of God praying the most agonizing prayer to ever pierce the atmosphere from earth to heaven. And in a voice so weak that only those at the foot of the cross could hear, He cried words of feeling abandoned and then total submission before He breathed His last.
Those were the big moments. But it's those daily, early in the morning while it was still dark prayers that captivate me. Those are the ones I wish I could've heard. I can only surmise. I can only imagine.
I imagine that He prayed for strength. Jesus breathed our very air and His calloused feet walked the sod of this earth for three years. He was God in a human body. We know from Scripture that He grew tired, hungry and thirsty. He needed an impartation of physical strength to keep going from place to place to minister to the people. He needed emotional strength to keep His eyes fixed on Jerusalem and what awaited Him there.
I imagine that He prayed for patience. He needed patience for those who didn't understand. He needed patience when multitudes followed Him wherever He went. He needed patience to meet the needs of those who followed when all He wanted to do was take a rest. He needed buckets of patience for those Pharisees. He could have smote those self-righteous religious types with just a mind bullet, but He never did. For that He needed patience.
I imagine that He prayed for perspective and focus. At any time, they could have made Him King. He could have been exactly what Israel had hoped the Messiah would be. He could reign and free them from Roman oppression. But if He allowed them to make Him King, He never would have become our Savior. For that He needed focus and the right perspective. He needed the Father to remind Him that all things would work together for good and certainly for the best.
I imagine that He prayed when He would watch many people turn and desert him. I imagine He prayed about His relationship with the man Judas who He knew every waking moment of every day would eventually betray Him. It would take only the heart of God to endure Judas for three long years. I imagine He prayed for His family when they didn't accept Him or understand Him.
I imagine that He prayed words of daily submission to the will of His Father. He would one day offer the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, but each and every day I imagine He offered Himself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.
We all need strength, patience, perspective, focus, healing of our broken hearts and relationship issues. We need a time to offer ourselves as living sacrifices at the beginning of each day. We can never know what we will face in the waking hours ahead of us. We need to follow the example of Jesus by wrapping our cloak tightly around our shoulders early in the morning, making our way to some solitary place to get on our knees and pray.
We can only imagine the conversations that took place in solitary places during the early morning hours on the hills of Jerusalem in those days. What sweet communion there must have been between the King of the Universe and the Prince of Peace. That same sweet communion can be yours.
If Jesus needed this daily time with His Father, don't you?
Living the Word along with you,
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