Do you remember the last time someone called you who you have not spoken to in years? It’s great to catch up with old friends, but at the same time, when you have not spoken to someone in years or even months, there is so much to catch people up on. The truth is, strong relationships are not built off of sporadic, limited interaction. Relationships are built off of consistent interaction on a regular basis. This is true in our relationship with God. If we want to have a robust and thriving relationship with God, we have to talk to Him and share our lives with Him consistently.
Jesus set a prime example for us of making a routine to pray to God the Father. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Two things stand out about Jesus’ prayer pattern in this verse. First, He prayed often, not every once in a while. Jesus prayed regularly and habitually. Secondly, He withdrew to a place that was quiet and free from distractions, the wilderness. These two things, having a routine and a location where He prayed, showed the value Jesus placed on prayer. Mark 1:35 elaborates on Jesus’ routine of prayer. The verse tells us that He got up intentionally very early before daybreak and went to pray in a place that was isolated, away from people and distractions. Clearly, connecting with God was a high priority to Him.
Jesus set a model for us in our own prayer lives. If we want to have a thriving relationship with God, we must pray often and routinely. As best as we can, we must find a place that is away from the noise and distractions to connect with God. We also have to talk to Him about the things on our hearts and have an idea of the things we are talking to Him about and praying for. As we develop a lifestyle of prayer, we will grow close to Him, communicating with Him regularly and intentionally.
Having consistent communication with God requires intentionality. We have to be intentional about talking with Him and communicating with Him. Create a routine; establishing a habit for regular communication through prayer is vital. Take some time to think about your prayer routine. Establish three times during the day that you can set aside to pray. Make a list of the things you want to pray for. Who and what will you pray for? As this becomes a routine, your faith in Christ will grow as you spend time with Him every day.
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy
In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”
Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”
But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.