C. Dixon (1854–1925) was a pastor, a Bible expositor, and an evangelist. He published a book series called The Fundamentals with Moody Bible Institute president R. A. Torrey. Dixon wrote on the importance of prayer, “When we depend upon man, we get what man can do; But when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.”
In today’s passage, we experience a day in the life of Jesus. Many were coming to hear and see Him. In fact, Mark records that “the whole town gathered at the door” (v. 33). Everyone in this town had come to see Jesus! What an overwhelming response to our Lord, a great revival of souls. It is the sort of response to Jesus we hope to see in our churches every week!
Yet, rather than relish this victory or even return immediately to revive many more souls, Jesus rose the next day to spend time alone with His Father in prayer. Here Jesus sets an important pattern for His disciples as they began the important work of fishing for men.
It was because of the needs of the people, and because of the demands of preaching and casting out demons that Jesus spent time alone in prayer. He prayed ahead of his schedule, when others were still sleeping, and in a place where He would not be interrupted. This was His practice of prayer, a model for His followers (Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 22:41–45).
As a result of His disciplined habit of prayer, Jesus was able to meet the coming demands of serving the most challenging needs. He would travel from town to town, preach in synagogue after synagogue, encounter crowds of people—including many possessed by demons. But the demands of preaching, crowds, and demons were no match for a God-infused, prayer-dependent life.
Our schedules may seem to fight against develop- ing a prayer habit like Jesus.’ And unfortunately, it may seem like we can accomplish much even without a faithful prayer life. However, serving others with love, wisdom, patience, kindness, faithfulness, forgiveness, and strength requires great power from God through great prayer.