Highlights In Today's Reading:
The King who rules by serving others and loving the unlovable. Jesus teaches and heals, and reveals His power over evil spirits. Jesus, Lord of the Sabbath (2:23-28). Invitation to be united with God and a fisher of men (1:17; 3:31-35).
In the first chapter of Mark we see the importance of prayer. Jesus had been in Capernaum teaching in the synagogue, when He was interrupted by a demon-possessed man (1:23-27). Later that day, a crowd of the sick continued to press upon Him far into the night (1:32-34). But, we see Him rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed (1:35).
Again, under great pressure from the crowds, He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed (Luke 5:16). This suggests not a single act but rather a habit of action. In times when the ministry's pressure was the greatest, Jesus seemed to give the most time to prayer in seeking the Father's wisdom and guidance. The day before He selected the twelve men who were to be the future leaders of His Church, He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God (6:12). It was while Jesus was praying on Mount Hermon that He was transfigured before Peter, James, and John (9:29; Mark 9:2). His constant prayer life inspired the disciples to request: Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1). It is of utmost importance that we prayerfully meditate upon His guidelines (see page 140 in our book: Biblical Fundamentals of Prayer). If our prayer is offered to impress someone it is hypocritical since prayer is speaking to God. Our Father which art in Heaven (11:2).
We need times of separation from all activities, even from serving the Lord, just to be alone with the Father. If our prayer life and service are to be most effective, they will often require the sacrifice of sleep, business, and friends.
Jesus gave us many examples of the importance of prayer (Mark 14:32,35-39; Luke 9:18,28; 10:2,21; 11:1-4; 18:1-8; 21:36-37; 22:30-46; John 11:41; 14:16; 17:1-26). Jesus pointed out the great urgency of prayer and the effect of prayer when He said: The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest (Luke 10:2).
John assured us with our Lord's own words: Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. . . . If ye love Me, keep My Commandments (John 14:13-15).
Thought for Today:
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry (Ps. 34:15).
1:7 latchet =leather strap similar to a shoelace; 1:26 torn him =thrown him into convulsions; 1:43 straitly charged =sternly warned; 1:45 blaze abroad =make known everywhere; every quarter =everywhere; 2:1 noised =the news spread.
For Mark 1:2: See Mal. 3:1. Mark 1:3: See Is. 40:3. Mark 1:11: See Ps. 2:7.
Pray for English International Shortwave Broadcasts in honor of Leonard P. Miller • Assistant to the Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Terry Hall • Government Officials: Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) and Rep. Ted Poe (TX) • Country: Ghana (19 million) in western Africa • Major languages: English and African languages • The government permits freedom to churches and missionaries that do not get involved in politics • 31% belief in spirits and witches; 22% Protestant; 17% Muslim; 11% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for guiding you to sacrifice freely for what pleases Him (Ps. 54:6).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:9