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What Is the One Thing?

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After two years they had only one question. They had seen the crowds, witnessed the miracles, listened to His teaching, even felt His power. But one thing eluded their grasp. It was the same thing Jesus referenced when He told Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed” (Luke 10:41–42).

The disciples could have inquired about how to draw a crowd—or feed that same crowd on limited resources. They could have asked Him how to preach a message that would mesmerize the multitudes and stop opponents in their tracks—but they didn’t. They were curious about one thing: “Jesus, would you teach us to pray?”

I believe the disciples weren’t asking about what to say or how to say it. They wanted to peek behind the curtain. They had been around Jesus long enough to know that something happened in that “alone” time to transform the ordinary into the supernatural, and they wanted to know what it was. They were asking about Jesus’ relationship with His Father.

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16), sometimes getting up early in the morning, at other times spending the entire night in prayer. Before a big decision or a busy day, Jesus aligned His heart with His Father’s. His disciples had figured it out—Spirit-filled passion and power for ministry flows from a relationship with our Heavenly Father, and they wanted to go deeper with Him.

“Jesus,” they requested, “could you show us how to have the kind of relationship with God that is so captivating that we’ll stay up all night talking with Him? We want a relationship that says, I can’t wait to spend time alone with Him. A relationship that transforms our appearance, informs our decisions and opens heaven (Luke 3:21).”

One of our core values states, Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Working on our relationship with our Heavenly Father is our first responsibility. Before we serve or speak, we need His direction. If Jesus pursued alignment with His Father, how much more must we do likewise?

Jesus understood the necessity of going deeper with His Father in order to minister most effectively. The Gospel of Mark tells us, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’ Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (1:35–39). For Jesus, the spread of the gospel flowed from a heart aligned with God.

The Alliance has always been about the “deeper life” and global evangelization. From hearts anchored and aligned with God flows our passion and power to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Our primary work of prayer is more than saying the right words or asking God to bless our plans. It is cultivating that deep, fresh and vital connection with our King—to open heaven and hear from the Father.

Won’t you join me in making prayer our primary work? As we grow deep in our relationship with God, we find the resources to complete the Great Commission and bring back the King.

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