The tension was beginning to build for Jesus. The Pharisees followed his every move, waiting to pounce in public. Jesus was becoming too popular with the people. That always riles those who think they are in charge. To make matters worse, Jesus was getting away with breaking their rules. If the people believed their rules weren’t important, why did they need the Pharisees?
Add to this external pressure, the internal priority that Jesus knew he must choose a group to mentor; and it was time to make the choice.
That’s why "Jesus went to out into the hills to pray." (Luke 6:12) He wanted undistracted time with His Father. He wanted to hear His Father’s words louder than anything the Pharisees were saying or thinking. For Jesus, prayer was his respite, retreat, oasis, sanctuary, refuge.
Who Am I?
There is no doubt here. I am the one who needs quiet, undistracted, solitary time to pray. I must find my “hill place,” sometimes inside my home, sometimes outside of it. I must leave my day’s agenda of self-made plans and present empty hands and a listening heart. I am the one who must not see prayer as duty but as life-line. I cannot make prayer some fast-food break just because I don’t think I have time for more. Nor can I make it a monologue where I do all the talking. If prayer gave Jesus all the wisdom He needed to change the world through twelve disciples, what cataclysmic change could He bring to my world through prayer?
When prayer becomes a hunger that will not go away; I am ready for prayer to be my respite, retreat, oasis, sanctuary, and refuge.