"After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone."
Jesus prayed on many occasions. He was comfortable praying in public (Mark 8:6). And he also prayed in solitude (Mark 14:35). We know that he would sometimes rise early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35). And at other times he would pray at night (Luke 6:12). In this verse from Matthew 14, we learn that Jesus was praying while night fell.
Here's an easy way to model after Jesus. This week, do a Google search for when sunset will occur. Use the number representing the hour part of that time to represent the number of minutes you will pray at sunset. For example, on January 7, 2021, sunset is at 4:49 p.m at my location. That means I will pray for four minutes starting at 4:49 p.m. If it was summertime, sunset might occur at 9:02 p.m. In that situation, I would say a nine minute prayer starting at sunset which is 9:02 p.m.
There is nothing special about praying in this way. It isn't a magical formula for getting one's prayers answers. What it does do, however, is it makes us intentional about when to pray and for how long. It also serves as a reminder that Jesus prayed into the darkness, and we can too, no matter what that darkness is for us.
(New Living Translation; photo credit: Wix media)