And in the morning,
rising up a great while before day,
he went out,
and departed into a solitary¹ place,
and there prayed.
¹) An uninhabited place, a desert, a wilderness, a deserted place, a lonely region, an uncultivated region
From other translations:
And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed. [AMP] 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. [ESV] While it was still night, way before dawn, he got up and went out to a secluded spot and prayed. [MSB] Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. [NIV] The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. [NLT] Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. [NKJV]
Now let us see what this verse is telling us.
And in the morning
That is, of the day after this remarkable sabbath; or, on the first day of the week.
His choosing of this day to inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted by the reader.
Rising up a great while before day
“While it was yet night,” or long before daybreak.
He went out
All unperceived from Peter’s house, where He slept.
And departed into a solitary place, and there prayed
Or, “continued in prayer.” He was about to begin His first preaching and healing circuit; and as on similar solemn occasions (Luke 5:16, 6:12, Luke 9:18,28-29, 6:46 ), He spent some time in special prayer, doubtless with a view to it.
What would one not give to have been, during the stillness of those grey morning hours, within hearing of His calm, exalted anticipations of the work which lay immediately before Him, and the outpourings of His soul about it into the bosom of Him that sent Him!
He had doubtless enjoyed some uninterrupted hours of such communings with His heavenly Father before His friends from Capernaum arrived in search of Him.
As for them, they doubtless expected, after such a day of miracles, that the next day would witness similar manifestations. When morning came, Peter, loath to break in upon the repose of his glorious Guest, would await His appearance beyond the usual hour; but at length, wondering at the stillness, and gently coming to see where the Lord lay, he finds it -like the sepulchre afterwards- empty!
Speedily a party is made up to go in search of Him, Peter possibly leading the way.
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Very early in the morning, when it was still dark (probably somewhere between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.) the Lord Jesus was already on his way to a savage and lonely place to fellowship with His Father in prayer.
In it He sought to strengthen Himself for the daily task that also called Him.
What an example He also left us in this, so that we might follow in His footsteps.
Before the people come and the work starts, to have a time of prayer, how blessed is that!
When a soldier has to go into battle, he puts on his armor beforehand.
In the heat of the battle, he will no longer have the chance.
Likewise, man must gird himself before the daily struggle starts again.
Then it is necessary to seek help from the Lord. With Him is counsel, only with Him!
The early morning when the mind is not yet so busy with all kinds of needs, gives us a better opportunity to quietly bring our worries to the Lord.
The more difficult our task, the more it is necessary to bend our knees early.
Luther used to take a little more time in the morning for prayer when he was very busy.
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