At this time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, he called his disciples to him, and chose Twelve of them, whom he called ‘apostles’: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.
Coming down the hill with them Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of his disciples were there, and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And people troubled by unclean spirits were cured. The entire crowd tried to touch him, because of the power that went out from him and healed them all.
“At this time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God.” The evangelist Luke regularly presents Jesus praying at important moments of his ministry (Lk 3:21; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 22:32, 41; 23:46), eight times in all. This practice of Jesus should set us thinking. If he, “true God from true God,” in the words of the Creed, feels the need to pray, do we not have a much greater need than he?
The topic of prayer is always a source of uneasiness for most of us. Why? Because our conscience tells us that we do not pray enough. Why not? Because, we answer, we cannot find the time to pray, due to our busy schedule.
Such an answer betrays a wrong approach to prayer. If we wait to be able to find the time to pray, we will rarely or never pray, because too many things will crowd prayer out of our lives. The right approach to prayer is something like this: “I will make time for prayer and give it the top priority of my day.” An iron determination of this sort should inspire us.
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