I thought this was a timely quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, since our church is going through a study on prayer in the believer’s life. I pray this encourages you to seek private communion with the Lord. In our fast-paced, entertainment-driven, constantly distracted culture, it is very easy to neglect this practice, because there is always something else you could be doing. But it is necessary for the joy of our souls to be daily absorbed in God’s presence by His Holy Spirit, made possible by the cross of Christ. This is taken from here at CCEL.org.
He went up into a mountain apart to pray (Matthew 14:23). Observe here,
1. That he was alone; he went apart into a solitary place, and was there all alone. Though he had so much work to do with others, yet he chose sometimes to be alone, to set us an example. Those are not Christ’s followers that do not care for being alone; that cannot enjoy themselves in solitude, when they have none else to converse with, none else to enjoy, but God and their own hearts.
2. That he was alone at prayer; that was his business in this solitude, to pray. Though Christ, as God, was Lord of all, and was prayed to, yet Christ, as Man, had the form of a servant, of a beggar, and prayed. Christ has herein set before us an example of secret prayer, and the performance of it secretly, according to the rule he gave, Matthew 6:6. Perhaps in this mountain there was some private oratory or convenience, provided for such an occasion; it was usual among the Jews to have such. Observe, When the disciples went to sea, their Master went to prayer; when Peter was to be sifted as wheat, Christ prayed for him.
3. That he was long alone; there he was when the evening was come, and, for aught that appears, there he was till towards morning, the fourth watch of the night. The night came on, and it was a stormy, tempestuous night, yet he continued instant in prayer. Note, It is good, at least sometimes, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and to take full scope in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. We must not restrain prayer, Job 15:4.