I have to eat. It isn’t too many hours each day until my body reminds me. If I am busy or preoccupied I can put it off for a while but not for too long. Without food my body will soon ache, my concentration will begin to lapse and my energy depletes. I need to eat. It sustains me, nourishes me and keeps me alive. So each day not too many hours pass before my body craves the food that I need. But Jesus said:
Man does not live on bread alone…. (Matthew 4:4).
You don’t have to read about Jesus for long to see that there was something else he craved. Something he just couldn’t do without. On times the pressure of the day would stop him getting it but that only increased his craving, making him more determined. As the story unfolds you see that for Jesus it is this, above all else, that sustains him and keeps him alive. He needs it, maybe more than food. What is it? It’s being with his Father. It’s prayer.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).
Like my day is punctuated by food, his day was punctuated by time with his Father. It gave him life, sustenance and everything he needed. It was from that place that Jesus went out into the rest of his day. And what days they were: with a word storms were ceased and dead men raised, with a look and a touch rejected outcasts were loved and included, with a short story or a timely phrase the world’s wisdom was put into shadow.
Those closest to him could see where it all came from. They could see that more essential than the food he ate, even the air he breathed was for Jesus to be with his Father. No wonder the only thing recorded in the Bible that the disciples ever asked Jesus was:
Lord teach us to pray (Luke 11:1)
This series is an echo of that cry. It’s something I need to learn more than I know, to teach my whole being to crave God’s presence greater than my body craves food each day.
Will you join me? I hope so.