Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
The first time he spoke before an arena of captive listeners, it was the most incredible feeling. He left the stage fulfilled and energized. It had been everything he imagined it would be. That first conference would be a springboard to many more events for him. As his ministry began to grow, he would have experiences like that time and again. Before he knew it, that high he received from the crowd became his fuel. That was what he would say kept him going and made him want to speak more and more, but that was a problem. Although God had blessed him with the feeling of fulfillment in his work, it was never meant to be the driving force or motivation behind it.
For those who are in public ministry, the attention and accolades can become a drug of sorts. Some begin with very noble intentions but quickly are distracted by the thrill of the show and the sensation of celebrity. It can be intoxicating and make us forget the reason behind the work and the real fuel which should power us. Jesus on many occasions had to leave the crowd and spend time alone with his Father in prayer. He recognized that He had a great need, and only the Father could fulfill that need. The strength and success of his ministry depended on the times of prayer during which He was vulnerable and confessed his need to the Father. No measure of attention or popularity among men would be a fitting substitute for that necessary fuel.
We need God so that we can fulfill the work He has for us to do here. We never arrive at a point at which we can go it alone, and we never are meant to. The Son could not carry out his ministry in power without constantly going to the Father in need. He could not walk perfectly and fulfill the law without relying on the Father. Our prayers show our dependence on God, and we cannot be too proud to seek him for what we need. Even Jesus could not do it on his own, and He reminded his disciples of that time and again. We certainly cannot expect more from ourselves. Father, remind us that it is a privilege and a joy to come to You in prayer with all our needs.