Daily Devotionals

Be Brave: Week 2 - Tuesday

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer. Luke 5:16

In order to have a relationship with someone, you have to talk to them regularly, right? It is hard to have a true relationship with anyone whom you don't speak to regularly. When you do not speak with someone on a regular basis, there is not much for you to talk about, and you will have a hard time relating to them. Just like speaking with someone on a regular basis is important for any human relationship, talking with God through prayer is important in our relationship with God.

Luke chapter five teaches us that when it comes to prayer, Jesus set an example for us that we would do well to follow. We learn in this chapter of Luke that Jesus was attracting large crowds of people. He had been performing miracles and healing people, and many began gathering to see Him. As Jesus' name and power were spreading throughout Israel, Luke includes a very important piece of information: "But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer." In the midst of busyness and rising popularity among the people of Israel, Jesus took time to withdraw and pray to God the Father. If taking time to pray alone was important to Jesus, how much more important should taking time to pray be to us?

As He prayed, Jesus set a very important example for us. He did not withdraw to the wilderness a few times to pray. He prayed often. Praying to God the Father in the wilderness had become a part of His routine. He also had a place where He withdrew: the wilderness. We cannot be certain why Jesus chose the wilderness, but one possible reason is because it did not have any distractions. Hot and desolate, perhaps the wilderness was a quiet place where Jesus was not interrupted or distracted, and He could focus on God the Father. If you have been following along with us in these Daily Devotionals, you know that one of our challenges for this New Year is to be people of prayer. Have you committed to focus on communicating with God in the year of 2020? When you consider your prayer life, will it be said of you, like it was said of Jesus, that you often withdrew to a quiet, secluded place to pray? Let's follow Jesus' example and continue to commit to prayer this year.

Moving Toward Action

Our challenge today is to model our prayer lives after the way Jesus prayed. Do you have a place where you can go to pray that you can really focus on God without distractions? If not, think of a place where you can pray to God, fully focused on Him. Next, commit to praying often. In order to develop a habit of consistently praying, set aside a time in your day when you can withdraw to your chosen place and pray. Tell a trusted friend your plan and ask him or her to hold you accountable.

Going Deeper

Read Luke 5:1-16 (NLT)

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.

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.