And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.
Prayer is the most essential part of any Christian’s walk with the Lord. If you have any hint of humanity running through your veins, you must confess to the weakness of your own flesh as compared to the willingness of your redeemed spirit (Matt. 26:41). Even Christ Jesus, who was deity in the flesh, new the magnitude of this truth. A day that is navigated without first spending quality time with the Lord is a day sure to be ruled by the flesh.
The flesh, simply put, is the self-centered will of our fallen state. It’s the desire to do things our own way, to become vessels of sin rather than of God. Self is what Jesus was referring to when He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Self is the flesh that Paul considered dead, crucified with Christ that He may no longer live by its rule, but rather by the rule of grace (Gal. 2:20). Jesus Christ, closer to the Father than anyone else, considered it a necessity to begin His day alone in prayer with the Father. It was here that He daily crucified His flesh so that nothing other than the will of God could be practiced.
Have you forsaken the example of Jesus’ prayer life? Do you not yet understand the importance of beginning your day in prayer? I have found my own flesh to be so weak that I must continually ask the Lord to bring me back to that quiet place on the following day. Without His strength, even a consistent prayer life becomes a struggle. Shouldn’t this tell me something about the troubles I will face during the remainder of a day not proceeded by prayer?