Daily Office Readings for Wednesday after the First Week of Lent: Year 2
“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he [Jesus] got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Whether you believe our Lord Jesus is God Incarnate or the Son of God apart from God, you must take note of Jesus’ life of prayer. The praying referred to in the passage above is tucked between healings. On one side, before he prayed, “he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.” (Mark 1: 34) On the other side, after he prayed, he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons. (Mark 1: 39) This work of healing and casting out demons was fortified by prayer. Prayer works people.
In these acts of prayer our Lord Jesus is teaching us the power of prayer as well as the importance of prayer. The Mystic, Evelyn Underhill, writes “We pray first because we believe something; perhaps at that stage a very crude or vague something. And with the deepening of prayer, its patient cultivation, there comes – perhaps slowly, perhaps suddenly – the enrichment and enlargement of belief, as we enter into a first-hand communion with the Reality who is the object of our faith.” (Lent with Evelyn Underhill p.17; taken from The School of Charity)
You and I are products of God’s prayer. God began creation by praying. “Let there be,” as witnessed in the opening of Genesis. With such words all creation was called into being. The same “Word” that called all creation into being took on human form and dwelt among us. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” (John 1:1 to 3)
Everything about us comes from prayer, God’s prayer. We are prayer. Therefore we surely ought to be praying. God still prays. In fact, we never initiate prayer to God. Given that God prays first, when we pray, we are always responding to God. This is true even when we think we are asking for something for the first time. God is always ahead of us knowing our need before we ask.
As I truly believe this, I also believe God is the God of love and peace. I want us then to respond to God’s desire for human peace asking for an immediate end to the evil happening in Ukraine. This might require all believers to find a deserted place, even within our own homes, and there, pray for peace in Ukraine. Thank You Lord Jesus.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John