[H]e went up on the mountain by himself to pray (Mt 14:23).
Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him and went further up the mountain to pray by himself. There is a consistent record of Jesus praying in the Gospels and beyond this written record I am sure that Jesus practiced this one on one time with God often.
The goal of Jesus spending time in prayer was not to amass enough spiritual energy so that he could do miraculous things like walking on the water. Spending silent time in prayer was an example of Jesus answering the invitation of his Father to spend time with him. Jesus knew the will of his Father because of this consistent time they spent together.
If we are to come to not just know about God but truly know him and his will for our lives we need to do the same. We need to make consistent time to be still and open our minds and hearts to be present with God. True, God doesn’t only speak to us in our quiet and still moments. God engages with us in our everyday activities, but if we are not aware and attuned to his presence, which improves when we are still and quiet, we can often miss or dismiss daily happenings with God.
Setting consistent, daily time, ideally the same time each day, will help us to slow down our pace. The first thing in the morning is best. We can slow down before we even get started. Start with five or ten minutes. If this is new, even those few minutes can be a challenge. Just continue to show up!
As we begin to slow down more consistently, turn off the automatic pilot, and step away from our harried pace, we will begin to discern and come to know God’s voice which speaks in the silence of our hearts.
God invites us to move beyond our mere survival instinct and reactions or settling into a comfortable and protected cocoon. God encourages us to be fully alive and to be engaged in the lives of others. How this takes shape will be different for each of us. We each have a particular and unique role to play in our collaboration with God, which we will come to know when we set aside and show up for some consistent time to pray just as Jesus did.