A J-BAR PRAYER
Father, we come before you now on bended knee, hoping to honor you with our integrity. Please make our judgement as sound as steel and be our hands upon the wheel. Give us strength and vigilance on our routes and help us to serve others, as You did, Lord, without any doubts. Remind us to be gentle, humble and kind, and help us when we stumble in body and mind. Please shelter our families whilst we are away and bring us safely back to them at the end of this day.
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Mark 6: 45-51 – “And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and He alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: for they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, ‘Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.’ And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”
Just prior to this, Jesus had performed one of the more notable miracles in the Bible: the feeding of the 5,000, in which he took just a few loaves and a few fishes and after having blessed them, and passed them out, and over 5,000 people were fed. Not only that, but when they got done they took up 12 basket-fuls of leftovers. Teaching us that God always goes over and above, and we’re thankful for that.
Jesus said to the Disciples, “Get in the ship, go to the other side, and I’m going to go into a mountain apart to pray.” While they were in the midst of that sea, there came a storm. Now this says a couple of things to us, and one of those is that even though you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing, you are still going to experience troubles.
You’re still going to have hardships, and storms are going to come into your life. It doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong, it doesn’t necessarily mean that God is punishing you for anything. It is just the kind of stuff that happens because, life, right?
And so the disciples found themselves in the midst of a sea in the middle of the night, in a storm. And they were working very hard to get where they were going. The Bible says they were toiling in rowing. But the wind was contrary to them, so they weren’t getting anywhere.
There are a couple of things that I see in this text that are very encouraging to me, that I want to share with you.
First of all, the fact that Jesus sees your toiling. He sees your troubles. He sees when you are struggling. And he saw the disciples as they were working hard to get where they were going but they were having a hard time; they were really struggling with this business of fighting through the storm.
Now because Jesus is God he already knew the storm was coming so before it even came, he was in a mountain place apart, praying for the disciples.
I remember when I was young, one of my friends would say to me, “Come over to the house, we’ll play some games. Ask your parents if you can come over.” And I would always say this: “You ask them! We might have a better chance if you ask them.”
And so, if there is anybody I want praying for me, I know that I can go before God and come to my friends that pray and ask them to pray for me. But if there is anyone that I want praying for me, it is Jesus. And he does that for us.
Secondly, not only does he see where we are at and see our toiling, he is praying for us, but He will come to us even in our darkest hours.
The Bible says in the fourth watch of the night. Have you ever heard the expression “it is always darkest before the dawn”? Well in the Jewish timeframe of the day, the night was divided into four watches. It was 6 o’clock to 9 o’clock; 9 o’clock to 12 o’clock; 12o’clock to 3 o’clock, and 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock; and then the day would begin. The Bible says Jesus came to them on the fourth watch of the night, which would have been just before the dawn.
When things looked bleakest – when they were worn out, they had been working all night and were tired, the storm was getting the better of them at this point – He came to them. And he will come to you in your struggle. In your darkest time, He will be there. And then, the Bible said he got into the ship with them.
I am thankful we have a God that gets in the boat with us, and helps us, as we face the storms of life and try to accomplish what it is we are trying to accomplish.