And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.
The Norwegian teacher and author of the spiritual classic Prayer, Ole Hallesby (1879-1961) wrote, “The essence of faith is to come to Christ.” We see in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus came to us. We come to Jesus by prayer in helplessness and faith.
Notice these verbs in Mark 1:29-45: “And He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up” (1:31); “They brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons” (1:32); “And a leper came to him” (1:40); “People were coming to him from every quarter” (1:45). We see too that Jesus’ life is rooted in prayer—“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed” (1:35).
It is in this spirit, the Spirit of prayer, that I invite you to enter into Mark’s Gospel. Jesus has come. May this prayer be an invitation for you to come to Him.
Jesus, I come to you helpless.
Even as I say this, I confess that You have first come to me.
I cannot save myself.
I cannot fix myself.
I cannot make “it” right whatever “it” may be.
Take me by the hand and lift me up
that I may be well
and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.
You have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy (Ps 92:4).
Jesus, healer of the sick and oppressed,
give me eyes to see beyond myself to the needs of others,
and grant me the compassionate courage
to bring them into your healing presence.
Teach me your way of intimate fellowship with the Father in prayer,
even as You free me from the relentless pressure of the needs of “everyone.”
Jesus, if you will, you can make me clean.
Open my heart to receive your compassion
and my ears to hear those life transforming words of grace:
“I will; be clean.”
Jesus: touch my mind, and it shall be well.
Jesus: touch my body, and it shall be well.
Jesus: touch my heart, and it shall be well.
O Lord, how I long for that day when all things shall be well.
You have delivered my soul from death
that I may walk before God in the light of life (Ps 56:13).
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you (Ps 63:3).
May I obey you with joy
And become a living proof of the living God.
In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.