There are some things in Matthew 14 concerning the prayer life of Jesus which impact the Christian's spiritual discipline of prayer. We are familiar with the sections of scripture where Jesus taught his disciples to pray. We follow with interest the incidents of praying by our Lord and it isn't surprising when we learn something about his prayer life that should be in our prayer lives, too.
Matthew 14 contains the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, then instructing his disciples to go on ahead while he stayed behind. Look specifically at Matthew 14:23. "After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray."
We may feel like we get enough praying time when our worship assembly opens with a prayer, more prayers during the service, then there is the closing prayer. Toss in the prayers we pray when we awaken each day, the prayers before meals, and the prayers when we go to bed at night. In the middle of doing all that praying we hear of someone who is sick, so we pray. We learn of a fellow believer's struggle, and we pray.
Many churches have "prayer teams" which are always available when situations arise in daily living, calling for the prayers to meet specific needs. There just isn't much that happens for the Christian without it being accompanied by prayer.
The verse above, from Matthew 23 mentions Jesus sending his followers on ahead of him, leaving him alone, and the scripture says he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. It causes me to examine my own prayer life, from the standpoint of those times when I am alone. I call it the time I spend with just God and me. It's a time of reflection on the events happening in my life, as well as a time for me to come clean with God and seek his forgiveness. It's a personal experience known only to God and me, when I can seek his will for every step I take......a time when I can lay bare the desires of my heart and ask him to guide me in the ways I should go. I have learned there are countless directions prayer can take, when its just God and me, talking things over.
In these special alone times with God, I learn to listen. I learn to feel the nudges of Holy Spirit as he gives direction and guidance. I have assurance that God is with me as I am experiencing his presence. It's awesome to be on the same page with God.
All of the examples of the daily prayers we mentioned above are great times to remember our relationship with God by talking to him often. I enjoy the chance to join with others in prayer in each of those examples. But, like Jesus, I feel the need at times to be alone with God. We are missing a huge opportunity to strengthen our spiritual lives if we neglect the special times with God. Time with the Father is never wasted time.