Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles. Luke 6.12-13
I have never been one who has been overly obsessed with a legalistic approach to prayer. That is, although I am a firm believer in prayer, I do not think that there are certain approaches, practices or formulas that are more important, or more effective than others. I think that praying is more important than how you pray. The fact that prayer is taking place is more significant than how much time you spend in prayer.
With that disclaimer out of the way, however, let's be certain that we notice this important principle illustrated in the life of Jesus. Sometimes there is no substitute for deep, personal and lengthy prayer. Jesus did a couple of things in this passage.
First of all, he went out to pray. There was a habit that Jesus was in his prayer life. He had a procedure, a place, a pattern where prayer was concerned. He did it so much that he developed a discipline.
Secondly, it appears that he went alone. Jesus often kept his disciples and other followers close at hand. But there were times when he went to pray, that he went alone. We could learn a lot from this example of solitude. We do not always have to be on display for others to see.
Finally, He prayed all night. There were no shortcuts to this prayer. It took time to accomplish what Jesus wanted in his prayer. Throughout the gospels we see that Jesus prayed all night here, before calling the disciples, and in other places- before beginning his ministry and before the crucifixion, for example.
You and I may need to pray for extended periods of time as well. Do not short change your prayers, or the Lord.
PRAYER: Help me to pray, Lord. Help me to know how I should spend my time in prayer. Give me patience and perseverance to pray as I should. Reward me with your presence and with the commitment to continue in prayer. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.