February 21

Psalm 119:49-72; Psalm 49; Psalm 53; Genesis 37:25-36;
1 Corinthians 2:1-13
; Mark 1:29-45

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.  Mark 1:35

In the passage preceding this line from Mark, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law, so that she may serve him, and cures many who are sick with various diseases and demons. In the passage that follows, Jesus proclaims the kingdom as he heals people, and heals the leper. In order to do God’s work, he needs to pray in a solitary place. It is so apart from his followers that they have to search for him, “’Everyone is searching for you’” (Mark 1:37).

Throughout the stories of Jesus’ life, we read how he would find a place apart to pray for lengthy periods of time. Perhaps in spending this quiet time with God, he received the spiritual food he needed to do his healing work. In centering prayer practice, we learn that time spent twice a day in silence, simply resting in God, prepares our hearts for the work God calls us to do. Without this centering time, we can give in our human tendency to think all our works begin and end with our own efforts, instead of recognizing that God’s desire is to work out his purpose through us.

Lord, may I remember to wait for you in the silence, and open my heart to serve you.