The Carpool Awaits

John 18:1: “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley” (NIV).

Observation: This verse follows Jesus’s priestly prayer of John 17, the longest prayer of the New Testament. Jesus had prayed first for Himself, then for the disciples, and finally for all believers including those who would yet come to faith in the future (John 17:20). Upon concluding, He and His party left the upper room to go to an olive grove where His arrest was scheduled.

Application: My attention is riveted by the phrase, “When He had finished praying, Jesus left.” Does it seem odd that He would pray before beginning the most impactful walk in human history? Of course not! Jesus’s long prayer was a benediction over His purposes on the earth. He understood Judas’s betrayal and He foresaw both the physical and spiritual battles looming. Yes, He would pray.

But what about me? How faithful am I to tend to prayer before beginning my tasks? My tendency has too often been to let the press of events cause me to set prayer aside rather than to linger in His sweet presence until released to go about my day.

Breakfast meetings must be prepared for and the morning paper read. Children have to be readied for school, and I need just ten minutes on the Internet. In truth, I am so tired from watching the late show that I need to sleep just a little longer. Jesus will understand. He knows I love Him, and He surely agrees I need to be rested; after all, that’s just wise temple care.

The simple reality is, He prayed first, and kept at it until finished. Only then did He grab His briefcase to head for that meeting with Rome’s soldiers.

Am I so enamored by what’s on my plate today that I tackled it without first meeting Him? Is my agenda so much fuller than His that I am excused? Or, might I consider my tasks so mundane that it’s OK for their fulfillment to be on autopilot? If either of these is true, then I have missed the point of prayer. It is for something deeper than for my tasks to go well. Rather, it is to assure that I am fully His this day. Meeting Him is above all else for the purpose of my transformation, that I might become a “carrier” of the King wherever I go.

But hey, the carpool is waiting. I have barely enough time to grab toast and gulp some coffee. Maybe tomorrow . . .

Prayer: Lord, it crushes my heart to realize how much of You I could be filled with each day if You were really the main thing in my life. How much of You I have missed! I repent, Lord, and turn afresh to you now.

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