Making a Daily Appointment with God

“Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives.” Luke 22:39 (NLT)

That sentence, which precedes the greatest redemptive act in history, can so easily be overlooked. These inconspicuous words that Luke uses to transition the reader from the scene of the Last Supper to Judas and the Roman soldiers arriving to arrest Jesus are vitally important and cannot be dismissed.

In this sentence, Luke gives us a very important detail about Jesus that is seldom mentioned in the context of the passion story. The use of the words “as usual” tells us that prayer was one of Jesus’ highest priorities. It was so important that it was ingrained as a habit. In other translations, we see phrases like, “as was his custom” or “as he was wont.” It’s no wonder Judas knew where to find Jesus, because going to pray at the Mount of Olives was something the disciples saw him do on a regular basis when they were in that region.

One of my friends, and also a college roommates during my Junior year, is so disciplined a person that I knew at almost any given time where I could find him. After all, we didn’t have cell phones back then. He rarely veered from the daily habits that he established and maintained as a priority for his life. I’ve always admired him for that unwavering discipline.

I, on the other hand, can say that if I were examined today, doctors would more than likely determine that I have attention deficit disorder (ADD). When I was a kid Ritalin, or something like it, though first used just a few years before I was born, wasn’t commonly known or prescribed until the 1990’s. Therefore, I had to find a way to manage my propensity to be distracted during my formative years, and I’ve continued many of those strategies as an adult. I’m not as disciplined as Kent, but for me to successfully accomplish my goals I have to manage my short attention span.

The primary strategy that enables me to focus attentively on Jesus is to get up early, while the house is still quiet, so I can tune myself in to “hear” God’s promptings. I cannot pray when the television is on or while listening to an mp3 player. It has to be quiet. I’m thankful to live in a rural setting where I can find consistent times of quiet so that I can hear God speak into my life. Quietness is important because my experience has been that when God speaks, it’s usually more like a whisper or a nudging than something loud and boisterous.

Just telling you all that information is a perfect example of my ADD because all I really wanted to say is that a part of my prayer time today will be focused on all of you who stayed with me through the ramblings of the last two paragraphs.

My prayer for you will be that the words, “as usual” become a significant part of your legacy when it comes to the priority that you put on meeting with God every day. And as you pray, would you lift me up before God that I too will be consistent in making the time necessary for Jesus to lead me so that I can offer godly leadership to those over whom He has given me influence?

And in doing so, may you discover the peace that passes all understanding, and an unprecedented level of intimacy with Jesus Christ so that you will ultimately honor him with your life.