And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Christ was careful to use the best outward helps and furtherances to prayer, such as the opportunity of the morning and the privacy of the place. Whence we may gather, that to pray aright is a difficult work, and not easy to perform. If it were an easy matter, what need for such helps? Christ, indeed, had no need of such helps for Himself: set He used them for our instruction, to show us what need we have of them, and how hard a thing it is to pray well.
1. We have no ability of ourselves by nature to perform this duty (Romans 8:26).
2. There are many things to hinder us in the duty; especially Satan labouring continually to stir up hindrances and disturbances; also our own corrupt hearts, which are apt to be taken up at times of prayer with swarms of idle and wandering thoughts.
3. It is a duty of great excellence and profit, much and often commended in Scripture: no wonder, therefore, if it be difficult, for so are all excellent and precious duties.
4. Prayer is a holy conference with God; and it is hard to speak to God as we ought. Learn from all this the ignorance of those who think it so easy a matter to pray. Because they think it easy they go about it without preparation, without watchfulness over their hearts, and without using any helps to further them in the duty; and the consequence is that they pray in a very slight, perfunctory manner. If they repeat the bare words of the Lord's Prayer, or some other prayer (though without all understanding and feeling), they think this is enough. Indeed, this is an easy kind of praying, or rather saying of a prayer; for it is not rightly called praying, when only the words of a prayer are rehearsed. Such as know what it is to pray aright acknowledge it to be a difficult work. Let us be more diligent and frequent in the exercise of it, that it may become more easy to us.
Parallel VersesKJV: And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.