The heart behind Deeper is to explore the bible together, and to try and apply what it says to our lives, to genuinely let the Word of God affect us on a Monday as well as a Sunday.
For the next sixteen weeks we will be looking each week at a chapter of Mark. I would encourage you to read through the whole chapter at least once as well as the specific chunks we’ll be focusing on. Mark is the shortest of the four gospels that show the life of Jesus. It is the action film, it is fast and punchy.
Mark starts with John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin) preaching and prophesying about Jesus. In verse 9 John baptises Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes upon Him, anointing Jesus for the task, like in the Old Testament when a king was anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit for a specific time and task. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to accomplish salvation and defeat satan. This isn’t the same as us, when we decide to follow Jesus we get filled with the Holy Spirit for all time and by His power we live free and we can transform the world.
There’s one thing, though, that I want to focus on:
The Importance of Prayer
In verse 35 Jesus goes to a quiet place to pray.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Even though Jesus had a busy diary, and was moving from town to town to preach and heal and save, He still found, or even made time to pray. He made time in the morning to start the day by praying.
I am not a morning person. I really struggle to get up in the mornings. I also find it really difficult to find time to spend an hour in prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I regularly pray throughout the day, but this is usually whilst doing something else. It’s normally me saying a quick few lines to God to either ask Him about something, or thank Him for something. I very rarely take an hour aside to sit in God’s presence by myself, to have some quiet time with Him, not just speaking, but more importantly listening.
I know in my heart that I could take an hour out in the morning to do this, I just choose to lie in instead. To spend that extra bit of time lying in bed looking through Instagram or watching videos on my phone. If I’m serious about following Jesus, then this needs to change. I need to get my priorities sorted. Whenever I have a moment when I’m bored, I’m straight on my phone anyway, so to change what I do in the morning won’t stop me from being on my phone, I won’t have to completely give up Facebook or Youtube, I will just choose to spend less time on that and more time with Jesus. More time listening to Him and reading the Bible.
I’m not doing this out of guilt or duty, but because actually, I want Jesus to use me to transform the world, to bring people to Jesus, to see healing and restoration, and prayer equips us to do this. Jesus spent time in prayer before He went out and preached, before He went and healed a bunch of people. We all want the big stuff, yet we neglect prayer because its not massively appealing just by itself.We all want the big stuff, yet we neglect prayer because its not massively appealing just by itself. Click To Tweet
When I used to do piano lessons, for ages I hated them, they were so boring. I did not wake up excited to play scales on the piano. I did however wake up excited to perform piano at a concert, or to lead worship on the keyboard. But to be able to play at concerts or lead worship well and enjoy it, I needed to be good at playing piano, and to be good at playing piano I needed to practice scales. So I didn’t play scales because I found them fun, but because I loved performing so much that I did everything I could to be better at it.
This is so similar to wanting to see Jesus work in our lives, but not wanting to take an hour out to sit and pray or to read the Bible. And actually the more time we spend reading the Bible and praying, the more we grow to love it and the more we’ll see Jesus use us.
Eventually I began to enjoy piano lessons because I became better at piano. Currently I don’t find it particularly easy to convince myself to sit down with a bible and read for an hour, but once I start reading, I actually enjoy it, theres so many things to learn and challenge us.
So the challenge is: check your diary and see when you can spend an hour praying and reading the Bible, whether that’s by giving up and hour of laying in bed, or an hour of watching TV etc. and then we’ll begin to see God use us more and more as we let Him.
This post was written by Jacob Arnold (@), an intern at Gold Hill and one of the leaders in our youth ministry. He will be regularly contributing to the Deeper column, so check back for more.
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