I was reading in St. Mark 1 and 2. Both of these chapters tell amazing occurrences of Christ healing believers over the course of several days. After one day of healings, Mark 1:35 tells us, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” This struck me as profound and instructional for a variety of reasons. One, Christ rose up a “great while” before day to go pray. He was obviously disciplined and willing to consecrate his time, even sacrifice a portion of his sleep to go and commune with his father. Second, he was not casual in his effort. The scripture recounts, “ and departed into a solitary place”. This was not a quick habit prayer and off to the shower. He separated himself to a private location created a sacred space for himself to prepare spiritually for the tasks that were before him that day. Thirdly, I was reminded of the power of prayer, its power and purpose even for a God. I feel safe to assume that if he went to all the trouble to move to a new location to pray, that he was not casual in carrying out that intent. I envision him kneeling and engaging in a heartfelt prayer of connection for an extended period of time.
As he set for us the example in all things, this moment in history is instructive to me of how to arise and begin the day. I should move to a sacred space, somewhere thought of ahead of time to commune with God. There I should connect with my maker through prayer and intentionally prepare myself for the tasks of the day, especially preparing my spirit and mind to receive revelation as the needs of the day may require. Which brings me to the second scripture that was instructive to me this morning.
After his morning prayers of communion in this sacred space, Christ continues his preaching and healings. Some days later, in another town, he is brought a man sick of the palsy, carried in unto him by four other men. He heals the man and tells him “Thy sins be forgiven thee”. There were scribes present who reasoned in their hearts, “why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?” The next verse, in Mark 2:8 was the portion that excited me. It reads, “and immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” He then goes on to teach them and answer their concerns. The phrase “perceived in his spirit” stood out to me as explanatory of how revelation is often received. Just last night I was trying to explain to Brigham how I had received revelation the morning before in answer to a question I had written in a notebook where I keep questions I need answers to. This particular revelation didn’t come as words or an image or through a hymn or art or any way that was easily verbalized. I struggled to explain it to him and ended up going with the words, “I just knew it… it was just a flash of knowledge I guess”. When I read of Christ’s experience this morning, it gave words to what I had been struggling to express. He and I had “perceived in our spirit” to receive revelation. Christ received it knowing the thoughts of the scribes that needed to be address and I received it that early morning to answer my question that likewise needed addressing.
So my takeaway from Christ’s example today is to rise early, consecrate my time to pray and prepare my mind and spirit. Then go about my day, ready to receive divine instruction and aid, even being prepared to “perceive in my spirit” the help that God might send.
One of my mentor’s and friend, Cherie Burton, taught me years ago about this as well. She recommended that I create a literal, “Sacred Space” where I would commune with God in prayer and meditation early each morning. Here’s a photo of my sacred space, where I like Christ, go to “a great while before day” and there in this “solitary place” pray.