Repetition is always an indication of importance. Whether we’re practicing the fundamentals of a sport, committing information to memory, or giving instruction to others…if something is repeated, there is significance. God works the same way when He communicates with us. When we study the Scriptures, look for things that are repeated. You’ll find out what God sees as most important.
When we look at Christ’s prayer habits – what he prayed, how he prayed, and what he taught others about prayer – a specific theme is constantly repeated. This habit was noted multiple times by Matthew, Mark, and Luke; not that they were making a big deal out of it, but rather they spoke of Christ’s behavior as if it were perfectly normal, natural, and common for Him to pray this way.
Almost every time Jesus prays to the Father, he is alone.
Matthew 14:23 After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there.
Luke 5:16 Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.
Luke 6:12 During those days He went out to the mountain to pray and spend all night in prayer to God.
There are two major observations from these verses – where Jesus prayed and when Jesus prayed.
Notice how Jesus’ preferred places of prayer were remote. Jesus looked for quiet, isolated places so that He would not be interrupted or distracted by the needs of others. In these places, Jesus could pour out His heart and not worry about who else was listening or needing Him next. His choice of location helped keep His prayer time focused entirely on the Father.
Whether it was very early before anyone else was awake or very late after everyone went to sleep, Jesus also sought uninterrupted chunks of time with the Father. Jesus was willing to sacrifice a commodity that most of us hold in high regard – because He was finding His rest in His time with the Father.
Our own application from these passages is obvious. If our prayer life is going to be properly focused on God, then we need to follow Christ’s example and carve out time away from others to purposefully spend in prayer. Whether your best time is early in the morning, or late at night, or during your normal driving time (with the radio off)…the point is that we need to be intentional about getting alone time with God.