READINGOld Testament: Genesis 37:25-36
Psalms: Psalms 119:49-72, 49, 53
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 2:1-13
Gospel: Mark 1:29-45
Evening Psalms: 49,53
DEVOTIONALProclaiming my faith publicly is something I often struggle to do. If someone’s faith views are different from mine, I rarely say anything. In order to avoid conflict, I prefer to let people think what they want to think without getting in their way. Additionally, praying out loud and in public makes me anxious.
I am, however, very content praying in solitude, worshiping in my own way. I am comfortable reciting the Nicene Creed each week, worshiping through hymns, and offering thanksgiving through my everyday thoughts. This is enough… isn’t it?
”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)
Today’s Gospel reading challenges me to pray intentionally and become more active as a Christian. It describes Jesus waking up early and intentionally retreating to a solitary space to pray. This depiction of Jesus praying is in stark contrast to the way I pray. Though in solitude, I seem to pray when I feel like it and only for a couple minutes. Except at church, I rarely kneel before God. This Lenten season, I am challenging myself to be more intentional when I pray the Lord’s Prayer and Nicene Creed. I challenge myself to pay attention to the words and their personal and universal meaning. When I recite these prayers every week, it is easy to forget their magnitude.
The second part of this Gospel story reports Jesus leaving his solitary prayer space after his disciples found him.
”Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’” (Mark 1:38)
I try to spread God’s love by being present and kind to everyone around me. When people see my actions, maybe they will be drawn closer to God. I believe this is important as an indirect way of proclaiming God’s greatness. I have also enjoyed talking with people I trust about my beliefs, questions, and doubts. But I must challenge myself to be bolder in my faith with more people. I would like to learn from others who have different religious views. I believe it’s the best way I can grow to understand others and myself.
Dear God, please guide me into intentional prayer and give me strength to boldly proclaim my faith, as Jesus did. Amen.