Mk 1:29-39 When to Pray
Rising early in the morning, Jesus went off to pray.
Before Jesus did anything - before he preached; before he healed; before he journeyed or traveled, he always prayed. He never preached, healed or traveled until he knew His Father’s Will. He was a man after His Father’s heart and for that reason alone, he knew why he was on this earth.
Some of us have stressful jobs or, to say the least, highly intense jobs. Those who work in hospitals have it hard. Those who travel, have it hard. Those who are raising a family – yes, they too have it hard. But it would be impossible if we did not know why we were doing it. That’s one of the reasons why I left my career. I couldn’t imagine doing it for the rest of my life. Never did I imagine that the “rock” – Kodak – would turn into dust! “Get a job with Kodak and you have it made for the rest of your life.” That’s what people would say the year I left. Today, from 60,000 employees, the company has been reduced to approximately 3,000 employees. Some “rock”! I learned before they did that there is only one ROCK!
All great men and women throughout history have prayed. That’s how and why they did great things. We know we should pray too. But do we? Do we understand the power of prayer? The value it has? The Saints prove that the power of prayer is capable of overcoming all human limitations or weaknesses. The weak become strong. The most “unlikely to succeed” succeed! A 4’5” saint conquers a nation! Prayer shows the glory and power of God. The command to love your enemy is only possible through a life of prayer. The command to forgive your neighbor, your friend, is impossible – literally – without divine intervention. For this reason, it is so hard to love your enemy and forgive your friend. Most of us do not because most of us do not resort to prayer. And it’s NOT because we don’t know how to, it’s because we’re not ready to do so. Prayer softens the heart, makes it human again, and allows the Lord to write his law into it.
This year everyone’s “To do List” must include 15 to 30 minutes of prayer time. It is essential for nourishment and fulfillment; for grace and peace; for understanding and for life. Find a quiet moment, preferably at the very beginning of the day, to settle in and snuggle up to your favorite Holy book and reflect on the life of our Savior. This is what makes life worth living. Otherwise, we are a fish lost at sea – swimming frantically but for little or no purpose.
A priest once told me that life is lived one day to the next, but reflected upon looking backwards. See how the Lord himself was tested through what he suffered, and how he is able to help those who are being tested (cf. Heb 2:18). He experienced the loss of a friend, rejection and betrayal, ridicule and torture. He lived sleepless nights, endured trial and hardship. He was one like us in everything except in sin – that is, he never gave in or gave up. Because he knows us so well, our Lord can lift us up ever higher! “He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up.” The same will happen to you! The power of prayer is timeless.