Deep Work by Peggi Tustan

By February 15, 2023Growing in Faith, Women

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task,” says Cal Newport in his book by that title. Prayer is a work that requires deep focus. It’s not always easy to achieve. My phone dings. My husband has a question. My mind wanders to the next item on my to-do list. It takes determination to carve out distraction-free time with God.

Although Jesus Christ did not carry a smartphone, his days were full of distractions. He lived, ate, and ministered with his disciples. Jesus had no office door to close. Crowds followed him everywhere. Yet, even after a full day of ministry and healing and miraculously multiplying loaves and fish, he carved out time for the deep work of prayer.

After dismissing the multitude that day, Jesus instructs his disciples to take the boat and meet him on the opposite side of the Galilean Sea. Alone at last, he climbs the mountain to meet his Father in distraction-free prayer. We have no record of this intimate conversation. From what happens next, however, it’s obvious Jesus walked away empowered to fulfill his mission.

Deep in the night, Christ descends the mountain. A storm rages on the sea. He has no boat to follow his disciples. It matters not. Through heaving waves, Jesus makes the sea his path. Who does this? Who controls the elements? God alone.

Seeing their rabbi walk on water terrifies his disciples. Is it a ghost? Peter, however, makes an audacious request, “If it’s you, Jesus, tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come!” Jesus says. And Peter steps onto the surface of the water. This, too, requires deep focus. For as soon as the crashing waves distract Peter, he sinks. Jesus reaches out and lifts him safely into the boat. Immediately, the storm calms.

Will you and I ever walk on water? Perhaps not. But none of us escape life’s storms. When waves crash around us, Jesus can form a path for us on the sea. If we focus on the storm, like Peter, we often sink. But if we turn our eyes to Jesus, He can lift us to safety and calm the tempest.

God desires to do a deep work in you and me. That work will never go deeper than the time we carve out for distraction-free prayer. It’s not easy, but it’s worth the effort. Nothing will empower our spiritual lives more than the deep work of prayer!

(Matthew 14)