Several years ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Israel. The experience was one I’ll never forget. Not only did I get to explore a historic and ancient land, but it was also the place where Jesus walked.

One such place was a mountain near the Sea of Galilee. It was there — about a two-hour hike — where Jesus often withdrew to pray.

By the time that I made it to the top, I was completely exhausted and drenched in sweat. It was a steep incline over rocky terrain, plus it was disturbingly hot outside. I know Jesus was a local and was used to this climate, but it still confounded me. How could Jesus walk up here almost every day? And why? Weren’t there better places to go that wouldn’t be so exhausting?

And then I noticed something. In Luke 5:16, we read, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Jesus had a very limited window of time to be on earth, so he knew he must use every minute wisely. He could have spent all of his time in ministry. There was certainly a demand for it. But we read throughout the Gospels that he often sent the crowds away so he could pray.

Jesus knew the value and importance of taking time away from the work and commotion that surrounded him to go and withdraw and make time to be present with his Father.

As I sat on the top of the mountain and looked down at the Sea of Galilee, I found a new appreciation for the daily effort that Jesus made.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for modeling the importance of making time to be present with our Heavenly Father. Help us to follow your example and pursue time with you in reliance on your Spirit.

Throughout This Day: Find ways to withdraw periodically to spend time alone with God.

Tags: Daily Devotional Mark 1
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