Wednesday, 1st Week in Ordinary Time        

            Today’s gospel has sentences loaded with action: curing sick people, driving out demons, traveling from village to village, preaching from synagogue to synagogue. Notice that in the midst of the busy-ness of his ministry and because of that busy-ness, Jesus went out to a deserted place, a place of solitude, a place to be alone, and he prayed. He spent time with God. He spent time rejuvenating his Spirit. He spent time reconnecting and communicating with the ultimate source of power in His life and ministry, God.

            For Jesus, the “deserted place” is simply a place of solitude. A place where there are no distractions. A place where he can focus his life and refuel. A place where he can wrestle with God and wrestle with himself about the decisions he needs to make concerning his life and ministry. It is in this deserted place, where Jesus enters into intimacy with the Father, that his ministry is born.

            May this “deserted place” be descriptive of our personal prayer life. I hope we realize that our day is not focused unless we begin with prayer. I hope we realize that in prayer we find our best friend. That in prayer we find ourselves. That in prayer we are reminded that no matter what the world says, God says our true identity is our being God’s beloved children, our being brothers and sisters in Christ, our being heirs of the Kingdom, and our being servants set aside for mission.

            Prayer is the foundation upon which the rest of our daily life as disciples begins. We cannot worship and serve without prayer. We cannot understand what grace, presence, witness, mission, and service are all about without prayer. We cannot see or understand all of life, including our finances, as a gift from God and not ours without prayer.

            If we really want to pray, we plan our day with this attitude: “Today I will pray. Maybe I will not have time to eat… or to sleep… or to work. But one thing is sure: I will pray.” “Eating, sleeping, playing, working, resting are important, but not as important as praying.” “Prayer is the oxygen of my soul.” “Without prayer my soul suffocates.”

            When we adopt this kind of attitude, prayer is not a problem anymore. It is all a question of priorities. Once we decide that prayer will be our number one priority, everything else falls into place. 

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