Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
Aurora Musis amica, “the dawn is a friend to the creative.” Though we don’t know who first uttered this phrase, it might have originated with our biblical text. Jesus made it a holy habit to awaken the dawn with his prayers. And Jesus was quite creative!
If you look at the previous verses you can see just how busy the previous day was for Jesus—casting out a demon at church; going over to Simon’s mother-in-law’s home and healing her; then the whole town comes out and he heals and casts out more demons. Jesus must have been exhausted. Jesus must have been emotionally and spiritually depleted.
Someone has written, “Though as God he would be prayed to, as man he prayed.” Jesus, who is referred to as the “son of man,” more often in Mark’s gospel, is presented to us as fully man—one who had limited human energy, one who had limited knowledge while on the earth. Mark wants to communicate a man who needs God, who needs the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus needed spiritual replenishment for sustained spiritual effectiveness. We observe three aspects of how Jesus was spiritually replenished by his heavenly father.
The Time: early morning. We must make time for our spirit—when our spirit is the liveliest, the most creative, and the most unencumbered. From the earliest of recorded history, the muses, the artists, the musicians have spoken of the early morning as the time for hearing the voices of creativity. It is in the early morning that a busy Jesus had no distractions, no limitations and thus, could listen for God’s still small voice in his spirit.
So it is with most of us. The early morning, before we look at our iPhone, before we turn on our computer and look at email, is the best time to listen for God’s voice. The early morning is often the best time to seek God before we seek the day’s challenges.
The Location: a solitary place. Jesus “went out and departed to a solitary place.” Jesus needed a place with no people, no distractions, and no problems. Don’t you long for such a place? We all do. We all need solitude. We all need a solitary place.
We fear solitude because we fear what we might find there! Solitude is the haven of the soul. It is in a place of quiet that our soul can be quiet. Quiet is the doorway into joy. Jesus had discovered that he found his God in the quiet.
The Purpose: Secret Prayer. “and there He prayed.” Jesus only did one thing alone, he prayed. Luke says that Jesus “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” Jesus prayed alone because he needed intimacy with God. Intimacy is the purpose of prayer.
The purpose of secret prayer is intimacy with God! No crowds, no opinions, no pressure, only God—you and the Lord. This is why we pray. We pray because our spirit was made for intimacy with God. If you neglect intimacy with God, your spirit will shrivel up and die.
Being wholehearted means cultivating your relationship with Jesus through early morning, solitude with Christ, wherein you can talk and share your heart with him. Make this the highest priority of your life. Awaken the dawn with your prayers.
On the Road,
 The New King James Version. 1982 (Lk 5:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.