religion, christianity, articles
prayer life of Jesus

A Morning and Evening

By Shan Jackson

religion, articles, christianity

If it were possible to arrange in some gallery scenes from the life of Christ, it would be a display worth seeing. Many rooms containing the matchless pictures would have a variety of subjects showing the deepest sufferings and the highest joys. One department would have over its entrance the word Prayer. Jesus placed tremendous emphasis on prayer.

Many of the pictures in this collection of prayer would show the figure of a man going "apart to pray." In this frame all seems undisturbed and far from the busy haunts of men. Two pictures stand out. One titled, Morning, and the other, Evening.

Morning

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35). It is yet dark. He leaves the city and wends his way in the hours before sunrise. As the gray of the dawn appears, we see this man in prayer. What did it mean for him?

It meant preparation for the day's toil. He considered the tasks and opportunities of the coming day. He must be ready against its every demand and finds sweet communion with the Father before day.

It also meant strength for the day and its endless needs. There must be strength to furnish courage and hope and vigor for the attack. So we, too, must seek strength for the day.

It also meant that he gave to the day its tone. Every day has its tone-its atmosphere. Each day as its color. Some are "blue" Mondays or "black" Fridays, but he had none of these. For Christ every day had a tone of truth-a color bright and lustrous - a spirit invincible.

The picture shows the city waking up. Everything now is astir. Up and down the streets and paths go the disciples, searching for the Lord. Yet, still, against the sky of a beautiful morning, we see the solitary figure of a man in prayer.

Evening

"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone" (Matt. 14:23).

In the picture called Evening there is a mountain and a lonely figure. It has been a busy day crowded with opportunities to teach. Many have come to see and hear this mighty prophet. They brought their lame; he healed them. They were hungry, and he gave them bread. He elevated their depressed spirits. He sends the multitude away and urges his disciples to leave him alone for awhile.

Then to the mountain, whose great shadows the receding sun is casting, goes that solitary figure. The disciples are far away in the boat; the last of the multitudes is gone; and Christ seeks solitude and prayer. What did it mean for him?

It meant a recognition of God's part in the day. The day is done, and he thanks the Father for help and strength. So must we, with every closing day, thank him for his part in the work of life and give to him the glad recognition of a loving child.

It was also a request of God to bless those daily labors. No matter how unpromising the day's task may have been, the Father can bless the faithful performance of it and make it worthwhile. So every day can have its pledge of success by asking the blessings of God, and he can make each day the best.

It was also a humble thanksgiving for the privilege of service in his cause. Here was our Lord and Saviour thanking God for the opportunity to work and serve. To be a servant of the Most High is no small honor and well might the servant thank his Lord. No day is complete without ending it with deep communion with him who knows every star by name and sees our naked souls.

These two scenes of prayer, morning and evening, are appealing to a Christian spirit. In each we see the solitary man of unceasing prayer. By the lake or in the mountain, before the dawn, or as the shadows creep, we see his unmistakable lesson. Let each day begin and end with prayer to uplift our hearts and seal our intents before his throne.


Published November 1993