“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“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.” Mark 1:35
Many times people point to these verses as proof that we must get up early every day and get alone to pray. Jesus did it and he was the Son of God!
But Jesus also prayed in other ways at other times. He prayed with his disciples. He prayed before crowds. He prayed short prayers and long prayers.
We can and should pray in every way and at all times just like Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. But we should also pay attention to the context of Bible passages and not say more or less than what’s written.
In the above passages, Jesus is at the beginning of his ministry. He is being swamped with people who have very serious needs. Illness, paralysis, demon possession. People from whole towns were crowding in at the door. There was barely room to breathe.
Jesus was human. He needed space, he needed quiet in order to talk to and hear from the Father.
So yes pray continually, at all times, in many ways. Nehemiah had concerted times of intercession and quick prayers for help and favor.
There must be both, not just one or the other. When you neglect the solitary quiet times of prolonged intercession, you never build a depth of communion with the Lord. And if you leave the ‘prayer closet’ and never say another word to the Lord until the next day, or week, or month, you end up living a bifurcated spiritual life – you believe that God is concerned about the serious things, but do you pray for a parking spot?
Really. Pray for everything. Pray at all times. Pray like Nehemiah. Pray like Jesus.