Jer 23:1-6; Eph 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. Mk 6:30-34
The Twelve return to Jesus after a time of arduous labor, to report “all that they had done and taught.” Jesus knew that after this strenuous activity they needed to withdraw — time, we would say today, to recharge their spiritual batteries. Those who preach the gospel can give to others only what they themselves have received.
In every life, no matter how crowded, there are empty times — times when we must wait. We wait in the check-out line at the supermarket. We wait in traffic, at the post office, at the bank, dentist, or doctor. We walk to and from the car at our place of work, or at a shopping center. Such empty periods in the day can be turned into “times for God.”
As you wait, as you walk to or from the car, lift up your heart and mind to God. Hold up to him those whom you love. Ask him to bless them in the way he knows they need to be blessed. Hold yourself before your heavenly Father with all your weakness and need, all the loose ends in your life, your brokenness, compromises, failures. Long prayers are not necessary. Simple, short prayers are best. “Jesus, help me.” “My Lord and my God.” “Lord Jesus, I love you.” “Good Physician, make me whole.” “Mary, mother, bless your child.” Or simply the holy names, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph” — or the holy name of Jesus alone, repeated with every step, every breath, every heartbeat: all these are perfect prayers that go straight to the loving heart of our heavenly Father.
“The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.”
By J. Hudges