Great Plains Daily Devotional for 8/3/2023: Mark 1:35

Today please be in prayer for

Beagle UMC
Fontana UMC
Parker UMC
Five Rivers District
Pleasanton, KS UMC
Prescott UMC
Five Rivers District
Redfield UMC
Stark UMC
Five Rivers District
Princeton UMC
Richmond UMC
Five Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

Mark 1:35 

Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer.  

Today's Devotional

I have written before about how much I enjoy visiting a local nature center – especially in the cooler air of an early summer morning. There are numerous trails to follow and as I hike those trails and enjoy the beauty around me, I often find myself offering up my morning prayers. In the early morning, the trails are often nearly deserted, and I am seldom interrupted in my prayer. I am usually surrounded only by the sounds of scurrying squirrels and rabbits in the underbrush and birds in the canopy above me. It is a very peaceful place to get some exercise while, at the same time, offering up my petitions to God in a quiet place. I can imagine Jesus in such a place when he sought retreat for prayer. 

There is one caveat to the quiet of this refuge, though. The nature center is bordered on one side by a busy four-lane highway – and by railroad tracks. Traffic on the highway isn’t highly intrusive unless there is a tractor-trailer rig picking up speed coming away from the nearby stoplight. Trains are another story. The tracks are used for freight trains that can be over a mile in length. The noise they create is very intrusive to my prayer time when I happen to be out there as they race alongside the trails I use. 

When this happens, I often find myself with rather uncharitable thoughts at the interruption of my prayers. As this happened one day last week, though, I had an epiphany moment. Jesus often sought out quiet, deserted places to pray and renew his spirit. After he had done so, though, he would return to the world of his mission – to the disciples, to busy Capernaum, to teaching the crowds and healing those who came to him. There were occasions when his renewal time was interrupted as crowds came looking for him. And, still, he returned to the ministry he was sent to accomplish. 

I have concluded that I may need to look at the intrusion of trains into my renewal time in a new way. Perhaps this is a reminder that I still have work to do and need to be about it each day. 

-- Robbie Fall, retired elder 

Prayer for Reflection

In the business of our days, O God, encourage us to find time to commune with you – but keep us mindful of the work to which you have called us in our daily lives. Amen. 


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