“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” (Mark 1:35, ESV)
According to the late Dallas Willard, spiritual formation “…is the process of transformation of the inmost dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or will. It is being formed (really, transformed) in such a way that its natural expression comes to be the deeds of Christ done in the power of Christ.” This week, let’s focus on the continual practice of prayer as an exercise of spiritual formation.
Take a few deliberate moments to meditate upon Mark 1:35. Jesus rose early, departed where He was staying, placed Himself in a desolate place, and prayed. Very simply, we should imitate this pattern as we seek transformation of our inmost being. This model exhibits separation from all distractions so as to focus completely on God. Separate with time. Separate with location. Separate for maximum hearing ability. For when we can hear more clearly, we can be spiritually formed into the likeness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Try it. Start as soon as you can. Look at your next 24 hours. Set an appointment with God - and keep it. He longs to be with you. After you have done this, begin a habit - go for a week. Then, string a month of days together that are spent with God. Before you know it, you will be practicing the presence of God through deliberately practiced spiritually formative habits. Not only will you have a deliberate time, but this will spill over into your entire life. You will begin seeing your ability to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, ESV).
Rise, Depart, Pray… He is waiting to meet with you in the secret place.