He Withdrew to a Deserted Place and Prayed

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Picture of Jesus praying in a deserted place
Image source: LumoProject

In today’s Bible reading* we read about Jesus getting up first thing in the morning, withdrew to a deserted place and prayed. (Mark 1:35)

But it wasn’t just that He prayed. The Christian Standard Bible rightly translates the verb as, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.” Mark 1:35 (CSB)

He was praying.

The word translated here is in the Greek imperfect tense, signifying that He didn’t just pray, and then He was done. He continued to pray. It’s like the difference between, “I ate dinner last night.” and “I was eating dinner last night.” The difference is subtle, but it’s there. Jesus continued to pray.

In fact, Luke brings out, “Yet he often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (CSB) and, “And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.” (Luke 22:39, ESV)

In other words, withdrawing to a deserted place to pray was a customary thing for Jesus to do. He often withdrew to a deserted place and prayed. He withdrew from the crowds and His Disciples … and He prayed.


Don’t miss the point that He withdrew to a deserted place and was praying in the early morning following a day of healing people and driving out demons. The key to His ministry of healing and spiritual warfare was His regular prayer life.

I wonder how often Believers burn out in ministry (vocational and voluntary) because of an undisciplined prayer life. How many of us burn out because we’re trying to minister in our own strength?

When was the last time you withdrew
to a deserted place and prayed?

* Chapters covered in today’s reading:
Matthew 4:23-25
Matthew 8:14-17
Mark 1:21-39
Luke 4:31-44

This devotional was originally published on October 8, 2021.

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