Reading through the Gospels, if you pay close attention, reveals the priorities of Jesus to those who would have eyes to see and ears to hear. Many times the stories of the miraculous healings or the feeding of great numbers of people or even walking on water get much attention. Yet Jesus himself states what his priorities are:
42 At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. 43 But he said to them, ‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.’44 So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is constantly trying to slip away in order to be alone and pray. For the Son of God to want to spend so much time in prayer, we would do wise to pay attention. Being a Christian is about becoming more and more Christ-like in our lives. This will not happen if we do not give a priority to prayer in our own lives. Prayer is the key to our life in Christ, as that is how we stay the most connected with him. Worship is good, but it can truly only happen with other Christians, as it is a corporate event. It is for the fellowship to do together. The Lord’s Supper is supremely important, but again, it is only within the context of worship.
The other priority here is that Jesus came to teach and preach. The miracles merely confirm the message. This means that learning from Jesus is also a priority. Thus, reading the Bible is very important, as well. But there is a danger here. If the focus is on reading the Bible as the main priority, it is entirely possible to know a lot about Jesus and not know Jesus. Learning from Jesus through study of Scripture must be accompanied with daily time in prayer.
Christianity is a relationship first, and a belief system second. We can have all the right beliefs and not have the relationship. Likewise, we can think we have a vibrant relationship and yet have all the wrong beliefs. This means that we are not in relationship with Jesus at all. Prayer and studying Scripture go hand in hand to help us become more like Christ. These are Jesus’ priorities. They should be ours as well.