Mark 1:35-39 | The Power of Prayer

June 21, 2020
Book: Mark
Series: Mark

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As Christians, we know we’re supposed to pray. So why don’t we? Why is it that we would rather be busy doing the Lord’s work in other ways? Why is prayer one of the hardest spiritual disciplines to apply in our lives? Pastor Dustin Daniels addresses these questions and more.

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Full Sermon Transcript

Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark 1:35-39 | The Power of Prayer
June 28, 2020


We spent the last two weeks going over the previous 24 hours in the life of Jesus.

We saw Jesus preach a message at the Capernaum Synagogue.

We saw the impact of Jesus’ preaching—how it amazed the congregation, but infuriated a demon.

Jesus cast the demon out of a man—He heals the man.

After that, Jesus, Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John all went to Simon Peter’s home to have lunch…

but before lunch is served…

As soon as Jesus walked in the door, Peter’s relatives start telling Jesus about Mom.

Mom’s on her deathbed, with a high fever, could be an infection of some sort, and Jesus

touch’s mom on the hand, helps her out of bed, and heals her…just like that.

We also learned that contrary to our modern-day faith healers—

Those who say that “you’re sick because you lack faith.”

This teaching is in direct opposition to Scripture.

The healings of Jesus from last week — did not require the faith of the sick person…

The four gospels show us that most of the people that Jesus healed were unbelievers.

Most people in the gospels had minimal faith at best.

We looked at the incredibly honest response of a desperate father where he tells Jesus…

… “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Is it no wonder why Jesus says that all you need is the faith of a tiny seed.

A seed takes time to grow, mature, and then it takes time to produce fruit.

We’re talking years…and decades…a lifetime.

Isn’t that good news?

Those who preach this “name it and claim it” business…

Those who say “you don’t have enough faith”—and that’s why your life is the way that it is…

Please hear me loud and clear from last week.

Not only is that garbage theology, but…it’s the worst kind of abuse—spiritual abuse.

When someone says, “you don’t have enough faith”,—this lie goes to the core of who you are as a person.

It’s directly tied to your shame.

And this heresy/demonic doctrine says that you—as a person who is made in the image of Almighty God—that you are fundamentally flawed.

At the core of your being…that God can’t even help you.

Because you don’t have enough faith.

And your shame kicks in—shame is that tape that plays in the back of your mind and reminds you of the worst thing that you’ve done…

Or the worst thing that’s been done to you.

Shame wants you to live out of those things.

Shame wants you to live and breathe and draw your identity from those ungodly things.

Shame doesn’t just scream at you and tell you that you made a mistake,

No, shame is much worse than that.

Shame screams at you that you ARE a mistake.

And when someone vomits this ungodly faith doctrine on you..

Your shame kicks in, the tape begins to play.

And it’s in Jesus name, that I want you to know, that is all a lie.

Because of the cross of Jesus Christ, God has already changed you…whether you know it or not.

Write this down, Hebrews 12:2

For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As Christians, we overcome our shame story by the promises of God.

Reading the Word of God, cover to cover, over and over, by the Spirit of God.

The Christian life is not about perfection, but endurance.

And today, we see where Jesus’ endurance comes from.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 1:35-39

Mark 1:35 In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where He could be alone to pray. GW

Mark 1:36 Simon (Peter) and his friends searched for Him. GW

Mark 1:37 and when they found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for You.” CSB

Mark 1:38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” NLT

Mark 1:39 So He traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. NLT

This is the Word of our Lord, Amen.

Father, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart 
be acceptable to you today. Lord, you’re the rock and Redeemer. (Ps. 19:14)

In Christ’s name. Amen.

EXEGESIS: Mark 1:35-38

Mark 1:35 In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where He could be alone to pray. GW

The day before, Jesus had a long day and a late night.

We don’t know how late, but you can bank on the fact that Jesus was tired.

Now don’t you think if anybody had an excuse to sleep in, it would have been Jesus that morning? Healing so many people—casting out demons!

Jesus probably only got a few hours of sleep that night.

So we can make an educated guess here, from Scripture, that Jesus did not get a full night’s sleep.

Jesus was truly man—He felt the same emotions that you feel.

He was exhausted both physically and spiritually.

Regardless of His lack of sleep, Jesus gets up to pray.

The early hour explains how Jesu got out of town undetected.

Because after yesterday, Jesus is a rock-star in Capernaum.

Back to verse 35…

..Jesus went to a place where He could be alone to pray.

Other translations say He went to look for a secluded spot, deserted/solitary place to pray.

In other words, Jesus wants to be left alone.

And not just left alone, but Jesus likely walked for miles and miles into the area where John the Baptizer preached—possibly even where Jesus was tempted by Satan.

Why does Jesus make such an effort to lose sleep, get up early, and to search for a place where He can be alone?

Back to verse 35

… where He could be alone to pray. GW

Today’s key point is so simple, if we don’t pause right here, we’ll miss how profound it truly is.

… where He could be alone to pray.

Ahh, we see where Jesus gets His power.

Notice here that it’s the first thing Jesus does in the morning, before the day begins.

Before the busyness, and the problems, and the drama—Jesus gets alone.

And in the quiet of the morning, He prays and listens to the soft whisper of The Father.

Question: What was Jesus was praying for?

Scripture doesn’t tell us.

So whatever Jesus was praying for is not the point.

Mark’s gospel focuses on the fact that Jesus had to get away from everyone to spend time with The Father.

Jesus was exhausted, and yet He knew the only way to find peace and to experience joy was not to sell in, but to be in the presence of The Father.

It goes against human reasoning doesn’t it?

I know it’s a little hard to see it in the gospel of Mark because Mark is moving so fast, but Jesus is starting his second major preaching tour around Israel.

This is His next phase of ministry.

Matthew and Luke’s gospels tell us that this preaching tour included going to the local synagogues and preaching the good news about the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ primary message at this time is

Mark 1:15 CSB
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

That’s the gospel at this point—that He is the Messianic King.

Jesus is proving, with all these miracles, that He is the Messiah—the anointed one from God.

The gospel is not that Jesus died for their sins, was buried, and rose again—not yet…because those things haven’t taken place.

The context of the gospel message is important because, as we go through Mark’s gospel, we’ll see precisely when and why Jesus changes the gospel message. AMAZING!

Back to the text…

Mark 1:35  In the morning, long before sunrise, Jesus went to a place where He could be alone to pray. GW

Mark 1:36  Simon and his friends searched for Him. GW

Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John probably wake up to a knock at the door.

Can’t you see Simon Peter, wiping his eyes, all groggy trying to grasp the reality of what’s happening to his own life?

Peter probably lost sleep overthinking about everything that’s going on while Jesus was actually sleeping during those few hours.

That’s a sermon for a different day…

Who is it? “Is Jesus there?” Simon Peter cracks the door…

And he sees another crowd of people standing right outside his door who want to be healed.

Peter says, “Just a moment.” And he goes to wake Jesus up.

Peter knocks on the guest room door, opens the door…..AHH!

Jesus isn’t there!

Back to the text…

Mark 1:36 Simon and his friends searched for Him. GW

Luke 4:42 —But the crowds were searching for Him.

In other words, the whole city of Capernaum joined the search party.

The NRSV says, And Simon and his companions hunted for Him.

Hunted for Jesus? Dang! Why?

Mob mentality brewing here, people are caught up in Jesus’ popularity.

Mark 1:37 and when they found Him they said, “Everyone is looking for You.” CSB

You are needed Jesus!  Why are you out here in the middle of nowhere, just praying?

Don’t you know that there are things to do and people to heal.

We got to go Jesus!  We have to take advantage of this time!  The people need you!

Ahhh, this is a critical moment.

This moment is about mission.

Is Jesus going to stay on mission or get sidetracked?

Who is going to set the daily agenda for Jesus?

Who has control over Jesus’ schedule?

Do you think Jesus was thrilled that this crowd “hunted him down?”

No, see Jesus got away from everybody for the sole purpose that God the Father would set His schedule.

The problem with the crowds is that they’ll follow Jesus— but won’t commit to Him.

Sound familiar?

Two thousand years later, many people want Jesus—they just don’t want the cross.

I heard the story one time of a Catholic Church, to where somebody stole the Jesus off their cross.

They stole Jesus, but left His cross.

Oh, the irony to learn that there is no Jesus without His cross.

Mark 1:38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” NLT

Jesus speaks to the heart of the matter.

The heart of the matter— is the heart!

He says, “I’m not doing any more miracles.” I’ve got to go preach.

Crowds didn’t want the preaching.

Crowds didn’t want to hear the truth that would save their souls.

Jesus will not be knocked off mission.

Jesus will not have the tail wag the dog.

Jesus will not be bullied or threatened.

Jesus will not be persuaded by their tithing money.

Jesus will stay on mission.

And that mission was to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. (cf. Mark 1:14–15).

Jesus’ primary purpose was not to deliver people from sickness or cast out demons…

Jesus’ primary purpose was to save them from themselves.

Jesus came to redeem sinners.

To buy them back at the cost of His own life.

Back to the text…

Mark 1:38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” NLT

Jesus also had no desire to become a celebrity;

Instead of capitalizing on His rock-star status, Jesus decided to leave.

Do you think that surprised everybody?

Scripture tells us that God doesn’t do things our way.

… My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

Back to the text…

Mark 1:38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” NLT

Jesus’ miracles validated His gospel message…

But miracles themselves could not save anyone.

Salvation comes only when people repent from their lifestyle/sins,

Turning away from that and turning to Jesus and believing His gospel message.

Mark 1:39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. NLT

In that single verse, Mark summarizes weeks, if not months of time as Jesus continued to stay on mission.

What does this Scripture mean for us today?

It goes against some of the lies about prayer that we tend to believe.

And the lie is this—that there are two groups of Christians:

  1. Christians that get stuff done.  All action. Busy, busy. Movers and shakers.
  2. Christians that pray.  “Just pray.”

Nobody was busier than Jesus, and Scripture emphasis His insistence on prayer.

  • Jesus prayed before His baptism (Luke 3:21),
  • before calling the Twelve (Luke 6:12–13),
  • before feeding the 5,000 (John 6:11),
  • at His transfiguration (Luke 9:28–29),
  • before He raised Lazarus (John 11:41–42),
  • in the upper room (Matt. 26:26–27),
  • in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36–46),
  • and even while hanging on the cross—to forgive those who hated Him. (Matt. 27:46).

Wow, what kind of love is that?

The truth about prayer is that we don’t pray because we don’t want to pray.

There is something so diabolically wicked about the sin that remains in us.

We would rather do anything—especially the good holy things— than to learn how to pray from a Biblical perspective.

Because prayer is about obedience and submission.

Prayer is a barometer of faith.

It’s in prayer that we submit our will to God’s.

And at the end of the day, if we’re truly honest with ourselves,

We’ll have to confess that we don’t want God interfering with our lives.

We can say all the right things and use all the Christianese we want to impress everyone in our small group.

But Jesus shows us here that His prayer life is where His power came from.

We got a whole lot of people who think they are Christians because they act like Christians.

And it’s just that …it’s an act.

You can’t act like a Christian for long.

You either are a Christian, or you’re not.

And the way that you know is by how you live your life.

Scripture calls this fruit.

The desire to pray and be in the presence of Your Heavenly Father is a large piece of that fruit.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m experiencing a whole lot of lousy fruit from people who call themselves Christians right now.

Let me ask you this…

Is it possible, that when people missed or misunderstood the Kingdom of God 2,000 years ago…

That today, we, just like them are still missing the Kingdom of God among us.

Is it possible that God is answering our prayers through a pandemic?

Is it possible that God is doing something new inside the Kingdom of God with the Coronavirus?

It’s so easy for us to look at Scripture and laugh, and think of how silly or dumb these people were for not seeing Jesus for who He truly is.

And yet, I wonder if 100 years from now, people will be saying that about us.

“How could the Church not see what God was doing through the Coronavirus Revival?”

“How could they miss it? It was so obvious! For the first time in history, Almighty God had the entire globe turned upside down, fearing something they couldn’t even see.”

“Why didn’t they pray?”

Prayer is not difficult to understand, but it is difficult to do.

Six reasons the Church doesn’t pray:

1. We don’t pray because we believe the busyness of our lives is more effective than prayer.

We all know that Jesus warned us, “Apart from Me, you can do no-thing.” (Jn. 15:5).

2. We don’t pray because we misunderstand God’s heart —we misinterpret His Word.

3. We don’t pray because it’s too uncomfortable to be in the presence of a Holy God.

4. We don’t pray because it requires preparation and sacrifice.

5. We don’t pray because our hearts and our lives have been hardened and desensitized by our lifestyles.

6. We don’t pray because we’re completely satisfied with a surface level relationship with God.

And evidently God thinks it’s been that way for too long.

It’s amazing to think that God loves us too much to leave us in our complacency.

Jesus is shaking everything that can be shaken.

Jesus is pruning the Church like never before.

Jesus is preparing us for something different.

And the question before us today is, “Are we going to join Him in what He’s doing?”

And are we going to join Him by praying like never before?

If you would like to learn how to pray from a Biblical perspective, let me point you back to our website at River Bible dot ORG.

Click on the sermons page and scroll through the audio player and look for the three part sermon series on prayer that we did last November.

  1. “Lord’s Prayer”
  2. “Prayer: Cure for Anxiety”
  3. “Prayer Part 3: Hands and feet of Jesus.”

Father, the Psalmist writes,The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. 

In Jesus Name Amen.

Tithes and Offerings:
I want to introduce you to Doug and Dana Roberts, two of our missionaries who serve in Mexico.

Doug and Dana serve in central Mexico among a certain tribe descended from the Aztecs who ruled Mexico long before Europeans arrived.

They have their own language and culture. Most of them operate small family farms or or do construction work in other parts of Mexico.

Sadly, few missionaries serve this people group. That means many towns have no church and no Christian witness at all. But Doug and Dana are pioneers – they have started one Church.

A portion of your tithes and offerings go to missionaries like Doug and Dana all over the world.

We now have four ways to give:

  1. Two black boxes in the foyer.
  2. PO Box 4540 Cottonwood AZ 86326
  3. Online via our website at
  4. Or text 928-421-4030. Give 1

Sermon Bibliography
Blackaby, H. B., Richard (2016). Experiencing God: Day By Day. Nashville, TN, B&H Publishing Group.

Blum, Edwin A., and Trevin Wax, eds. CSB Study Bible: Notes. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2002.

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective. Vol. 2. San Antonio, TX: Ariel, 2017.

Hooker, Morna D. The Gospel according to Saint Mark. Black’s New Testament Commentary. London: Continuum, 1991.

Kernaghan, Ronald J. Mark. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007.

MacArthur, John. Mark 1–8. MacArthur New Testament Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.

Oden, Thomas C., and Christopher A. Hall, eds. Mark (Revised). Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998.

Osborne, Grant R. Mark. Edited by Mark L. Strauss and John H. Walton. Teach the Text Commentary Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014.

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