Luke 4:42-44 (CEB)

42 When daybreak arrived, Jesus went to a deserted place. The crowds were looking for him. When they found him, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, “I must preach the good news of God’s kingdom in other cities too, for this is why I was sent.” 44 So he continued preaching in the Judean synagogues.


In the gospels, Jesus is always dancing between time by himself (with God) and time with people. I say dance because it’s a fluid thing. Not even the disciples know where he is sometimes. I’m sure after a while they could guess – it seems that every day he disappears for a while to find prayer and quiet. And whenever he re-emerges, he always has a new insight and a new resolve to carry out the mission God has given him.

This chapter of Luke begins with Jesus’ temptation in the desert. When he returns, he first visits Nazareth. When the people in his hometown turn against him, he moves on to Capernaum, the town of Simon Peter. It seems he is tempted to settle in there permanently – Luke says that Jesus “taught the people each Sabbath.”

But after a particularly long evening of caring for people – healing the sick and casting out demons – he is in need of divine guidance. Is this the right thing? Staying put and setting up shop as the resident preacher and healer? The people say yes. In fact, they try to prevent him leaving. But in prayer, Jesus discerns the shape of God’s will: it’s time to move on.

Prayer is often about building resolve to do the things we know we must do, but are afraid to do. It’s about taking the time to check in to get clear on what’s important and what’s not. Sometimes, there’s just no substitute for a half hour spent silent and alone before God.

Who can make the muddy water clear? Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.

Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

You may not be able to find 30 minutes in your day to sit silently with God – though there may be times when you absolutely need it. How about 3 minutes to start? Or 5?

Prayer: Guiding and Loving Spirit, I bring to you all my fears over choices to be made and challenges to be met in my life. You know well what they are. I seek your clarity, guidance, wisdom and resolve to make the right decisions and see them through. Let me find all these things in your presence today. Amen.