二○二○年十月三日／四日 Click here for English version
Busyness and Prayer
Rev Arnold Chow
Busyness drives people to find coping solutions. Some bring in the latest hi-tech devices to save a bit of time. Others cut down on activities in order to channel the resources for the work at hand. But however we manoeuver, we still cannot escape from busyness, and life just gets busier and busier.
During the Lord Jesus' three years of ministry on earth, He visited many places and served non-stop. One time, He visited Capernaum, Peter's hometown. The whole town was out to seek His help to heal the sick and cast out demons. Jesus had compassion on the afflicted. Right on that day, He healed many sick people and drove away a lot of demons. The following day, He was to preach in nearby towns and villages. And again, He would heal and exorcise. It was another busy day.
How did the Lord Jesus cope with His busy life? Here is how He arranged His itinerary. Taking Capernaum as an example, He had had a very busy day and another trip was planned for the next day. The gospels tell us: "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). The Lord Jesus often deliberately avoided the crowds and went off in the morning to a solitary place where He could pray undisturbed.
The busier He was, the more He prayed. Tired He was, He still incessantly prayed. It was because He knows how important praying is for man. Now we know that that was what Jesus did. But when we reflect on ourselves, we are reluctant to follow suit. On a busy day, is prayer the first thing you would omit? When the amount of work is overwhelming or the burden of life and family obligations is heavy on the shoulders, do you readily write off prayer from your itinerary? If so, we will not be able to experience the power of prayer. We are also unlikely to put prayer back into our itinerary when the schedule begins to ease. In the crevice of life's pressures, we keep saying to ourselves, "I've got to be kind to myself" and we count on pastimes and entertainment to revitalize.
The prayers of Jesus clearly show that the busier one gets, the more one should pray. It is because prayer is how we can adjust our focus in life and the source of our strength from Father God. This is the truth taught time and again in the Lord's Prayer, the parables of prayer, the prayer in Gethsemane and the like that we are the most familiar with. There are many places in the gospels that recount the prayers of Jesus and related teachings. They tell us that Jesus did not pray twice a day like the people in His time. He always prayed: Jesus started His ministry on earth with prayer and concluded it with prayer; He made important decisions with prayer; He resisted the lure of success with prayer; and He fought the lows and risks and obstacles of life with prayer. The importance of prayer is apparent.
In the last quarter of the Thanksgiving and Prayer Year, we will revisit the gospels for selected passages on Jesus and prayer. Let us commit ourselves to becoming a people of prayer. Let us become a church that continually pray.