Day 11: Stop to Go Forward
Thursday, February 17. 2022
This week, we are discovering three prayer postures we see Jesus integrate into his life: silence, stillness, and solitude. All three are seen throughout Scripture. Each is an essential component of developing a private prayer life and cultivating a godly inner world. Tending to the inner world of the heart happens through personal prayer. That is why it is useful to understand and adopt these practices, as Jesus did.
It is no secret Jesus was busy. Others had constant demands for his time, energy, and attention. Despite the overwhelming needs around him and the mission before him, Jesus continued to live at a healthy pace. In his busyness, he was not rushed. That is far different than the way most of us live today, especially in American culture, where busyness is often a badge of pride. In our hearts, many of us enjoy feeling useful, even when it also is overwhelming.
Still, Jesus shows us a better way. We have seen the invitation he offers into a better way of living in Matthew 11:28-30. Now, let’s see how he lived that way of life himself.
“One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names: Simon (whom he named Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (who was called the zealot), Judas (son of James), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).
When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.”
Before a key ministry moment, Jesus stopped what he was doing to be still and spend time in prayer. Even when there was much to do, Jesus took time for stillness. This was his habit of solitude on display. Becoming still requires being alone. Doing so takes intentionality. Stillness and leisure are not the same things; one is purposeful, the other is not.
Consider the spiritual benefits of being still. What could God do in and through us when we stop and wait for Him that we’d likely miss when going at our normal pace? We see in verse 17 that as soon as Jesus came down from the mountain, people were waiting. They needed his touch. Still, the best thing he could do for them was get away and be strengthened. Then he could heal everyone.
What can we learn from this? Of all the activities happening around us, what is actually most important? And what only feels urgent? Like Jesus, each day, we need to stop to go forward. Instead of a compulsion to meet everyone’s needs around us, when we stop to receive from God, we are in a place to best love and serve others.
Ask God to help you stay centered on Him in the midst of busyness. Find moments to stop and be still throughout your day. Invite Him to keep drawing near to you in those moments.
Prayer: “Jesus, help me stop so I can go forward and do all you have called me to do. As you found time to stop in the midst of constant demands, so can I. I ask you to keep walking with me side by side as I take your yoke upon me. Help me become still in my inner world to hear you and receive from you. My life is yours. Thank you for dwelling with me. Amen.”
By Dave Mann
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