“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” — Mark 1:35

Jesus raised from his bed quietly, so as not to disturb the sleep of the others. Tiptoeing to the door, he hoped no one would ask to come along.

This is not easy to do when you have toddlers. The house we live in was built in the 30s with wood floors throughout. Though its bones are strong, the floors still creak with movement. And mysteriously, the children’s ears are more sensitive during the early hours regardless of how late they were put to sleep. I’ve learned to avoid certain parts of the house if I want any quiet time in the early morning.

I can’t see it being that easy for Jesus either, stepping through a room full of sprawled adult arms and legs. But he managed to get out without causing a peep, to a quiet place.

I sympathize with Jesus in this story because I understand the quiet times are momentary. These times are spent decompressing. Medically speaking, Decompression is a surgical procedure that alleviates pressure on the abdomen, the cranium, the spine. It’s invasive but it goes to the root cause to provide relief. God has His own means of decompression, which works much the same way. Maybe it shouldn’t be called a “procedure” though, prayer should not be procedural, but rather relational.

When we pray, the Spirit of God invades our flesh. He could speak to the abdomen, drawn tight with worry, ulcerous, sick, burning. At His command, the pressure there can vanish. Where we once couldn’t eat or hold things down, He settles the waves and brings nourishment.

He could speak to the cranium, clamped down by hammer throws of pain. Crippled by panic, thoughts of what could be, God speaks to our minds. Be at peace. Live. Hope in me. Trust me. Then the pressure relieves.

The spine can be bent by defeat, doubled by weakness. God, through His way of relief can make it straight again.

Jesus stole away to pray for this reason. The night before He had played the surgeon at Peter’s doorstep. The disciples, makeshift nurses. They were probably little help, running here and there, coming back to Jesus for direction. Probably scaring the patients more than helping. He spent hours with the sick, the diseased, the dying, the demon-possessed. Healing. Now he needed healing.

I just got in from one of these “procedures”. I walked down to the park, talking to the Lord. Asking Him to show me how He works. Thanking Him for being my Hero. Decompressing. We’ve had a hard two weeks with our son in the hospital for an emergency procedure and still coming home frail. We were stretched to our limits physically and emotionally, thinking we might even lose him. We could have.

I understand now why Jesus didn’t tell anyone where he was going when he prayed. He needed relief.

Jesus, thank you for teaching me dependence. Strongest Human Ever and still you needed relief. Quietness. Prayer. You needed your soul to settle so you could keep going. You invited the Spirit of God in openly, allowing Him to flood your being. You reached out for comfort. You needed help. You relished time alone in prayer. Help me to do the same.



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