Jesus Went Away to Pray: An Invitation to Reflect on 2017
We read about Jesus going off to pray. We don’t read much about his other habits. We know he is in the Synagogue quite a bit because this is often where the religious of the day are debating with him. We know he has command of Scripture because he often quotes it. We know he prays.
Matthew 14:23, Luke 3:21, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 26… just to name a few. What do you think he prayed for? How do you think he prayed? Luke 11 gives us some insight there.
Why am I writing about prayer? Because the year is winding down. You might have a job that is still going gang busters, and you may still have quite a bit to do to get ready for Christmas, but the year is winding down. And so, I want to encourage you to “go off to pray.”
Pray about this past year. Reflect on it. Ask God to show you what He wants you to remember, and what He is leading you to in the coming year.
You and I will no doubt be inundated with Year-in-Review articles and “Top Tens” of 2017. Best albums, books, movies and more… Best sports victories, top news stories, and even celebrities who died. Tragedies, violence, scientific breakthroughs, financial ups-and-downs… this list (of lists) could go on. Beyond these lists are people, people who need Jesus.
As I reflect on 2017 at The Pocket Testament League, there were so many opportunities to invite people to meet Jesus.
- This year, God challenged us like He never has before to reach China for Christ, and you believed, and 10 million to 25 million people were invited to meet Jesus.
- Amid violence in Manchester, UK, Las Vegas, USA, and more, you responded.
- After Hurricanes, tornados, fires, and floods, you were there.
- When our military and first responders needed hope, you were there, too.
- And that’s not to mention the millions – and I mean millions! – of small and quiet, but no less important, ways that each and every one of you has shared the Gospel faithfully, one-to-one, whenever and wherever the Lord has led you this year.
These large and small acts of faith may not make any viral lists, but as I reflect on 2017, there were situations every day where the world was crying out for the Word of God—and you were there.
Look, it is all for God’s glory. I don’t write these words to puff you, or me, up. Rather, I write these words for three reasons:
- To say thank you. Thank you for being faithful and obedient in inviting as many people as possible to consider Jesus.
- To encourage you. It may seem like we are a bunch of random individuals who love the Lord, and it can be easy to feel like we don’t make a difference. However, collectively we are a strong community, offering hope, and united in our desire to see people to meet Jesus.
- To invite you. To invite you to go away and pray.
The 2017 Lists will soon appear. I predict all of them will draw our focus to humans and not God. Hey, that is okay. We, us humans, are created in the image of God. God loves us more than we know. It is okay to think and reflect on all that happened to us.
But can I invite you—invite you to go away and pray, and ask God to speak to you?
Ask God about the hurts you have endured. To heal them. To teach you. Ask Him where you need to forgive. Ask God to bring to your mind the moments of joy. To hold onto them. To be more grateful to for them. Ask God about His hopes for you in 2018.
I am doing the same. I will update you in early 2018 from my time away with Him. And I hope to hear from you, too.