Scripture: Mark 6:45-46 CEB “After saying good-bye to them, Jesus went up onto a mountain to pray.” The promise of what we would see and experience was truly exciting. It was perhaps the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of something global. We were all very excited to be going and be a part of what God was doing in a different place and with different people. Months of preparation and prayer had gone into the whole experience. There were months of anticipation, a little anxiety, and a lot of excitement that were about to culminate in a mission trip to a destination nearly 7,900 miles away. We would be gone for a little over three weeks and I would miss one of my daughter’s birthday to participate in this trip. It was a lot to think of and take in and some sacrifice to be participating in my first mission trip to Kitwe, Zambia. It was truly exciting. All the preparation led to the day we were set to depart. This was both exciting and a day I had been dreading. I was excited for the new opportunity, but I was dreading saying goodbye to my family. Since Debbie and I were married, and since the girls were born, the longest I had been away was 11 days. This trip would be for over three weeks. As we said our goodbyes I was truly saddened that I would not get to see the most important people in my life for such a long period of time. Let’s face it … saying goodbye is never easy. When we love someone we want to be with them. This is what makes saying goodbye so difficult. The thought of being away from my family for so long was daunting, even though it was for a great cause. I was truly counting on God to keep us and bless us through the whole experience. Sometimes we must say goodbye. In this case it was for a mission trip where I would grow and serve. I was saying goodbye to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to serve those in Zambia. It was a good thing. Saying goodbye to grow is a wise step and it is following the example of Christ. The Apostle Mark writes, “After saying goodbye to them, Jesus went up onto the mountain to pray.” Jesus had been doing great things for many people, but it was time to say goodbye so he could grow closer to God in prayer. Jesus gives us the example of saying goodbye to one thing to spend time growing in relationship with God. It should lead us to ask the question, “To what do I need to say goodbye to grow in my relationship with God through prayer?” Perhaps it is time watching television, maybe a little bit of sleep in the morning, or even a little break time at work. It is important to say goodbye to some things so that we will have time to grow in relationship with God. What will you say goodbye to today? Make a plan for the week which identifies those things to which you will say goodbye and replace them with some time spent in prayer. Whatever it is you would have done will not be missed, I guarantee it. Give it a try and watch how God will use that time you give. You will be blessed and you will grow in relationship with Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than that. Prayer: God, thank you for the gift of relationship you offer by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. I want to spend more time with you in prayer. Show me today what I need to say goodbye to so I can grow my relationship with you. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.