“…Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
Years ago I was involved in a study that focused on spiritual disciplines. My kids were small and life was busy but once a week Tim and I met with a few other couples to do this. The end of the study culminated in taking a half day away just to pray.
We spent four hours at a beautiful local park. I sat near the lake. Spent time near a covered bridge. Cozied up to a tree with a view of a water wheel. Notebook. Bible. Water. Pen. That’s all I needed.
It. Was. Marvelous!
Nature is a powerful thing.
There’s something about being out in nature that soothes the soul. Would you agree? Wind, birds, squirrels, butterflies. You notice the little trail of ants carrying their food from place to place. How the trees can take on a different look as the sun shines from a different angle throughout the day. How the clouds change shape as they skim across the blue sky effortlessly. The wind relaxes and the muscles let go of their tightened state.
Something happens when we get outside, to a lonely place, and just look about. His power becomes more evident. His creativity shines everywhere you look. His attention to detail. All of it is a reminder of what a great big God we serve. All of it!
Jesus prayed often.
Even to say that seems like an understatement. But, there were times that He had to break away from the noise and get to a quiet place. Doesn’t that sound marvelous?
Be alone to talk.
Be alone to listen.
I see three important truths in this verse that we can take in and flesh out.
He drew away from the pressures of His life, detached Himself, became removed
**He did it often
He did it frequently, repeatedly and consistently. He made it a habit. A lifestyle.
**He chose lonely places
He struck out unaccompanied. He went solo. He isolated Himself.
If this was a part of Jesus’ lifestyle, I’d say that we should incorporate this practice into our own lives. Especially in the world that we are living in that is so inundated with noise and movement and visual stimulation everywhere you look. Every. Where.
I need this. You need this.
- High school or middle school student who attends church each week but doesn’t really know how to pray.
- College student who studies your Bible in your dorm room each day while listening to nearby students crank their music and holler down the hallway
- Young mama who can’t even use the bathroom without interruption
- Mom of teens whose door revolves around your kids and their friends
- Empty nesters who aren’t quite used to the sound of an empty house
- Retired older woman who putzes around all day trying to keep yourself busy
Ladies, some of us seem to need permission to get away by ourselves, for even just a couple of hours. This is it. This is your permission…your encouragement…your convincing argument that you MUST…WE must, make this a practice.
It was important to Jesus.
It should be important for us.
And I believe that it will not only benefit our relationship with God, but it will ultimately benefit our family, our work, our church, and all of the other parts of our lives.
Let’s get out our calendars and mark a date or two to get started. Pick a nearby place-away from home-grab your Bible and a coffee and keep that appointment. There is nothing as important as keeping that line of communication with God open and active.
This could be the thing to take your walk with Him deeper than it’s ever been.
This could be the thing you need to hit re-start on your relationship with Him.
This could be the habit that is the catalyst to hearing from God more clearly.
This could be the first step to self-care that you’ve taken in a long time.
I promise if you miss a T-ball game or an hour or two of sleep or don’t get your man’s dinner cooked for one night, it will be OK 🙂
I’m not suggesting you start with a four-hour retreat, but I am suggesting that you start.
The goal is to be alone during this time but there is nothing wrong with carpooling with friends to a wide open space and splitting up once there. In fact, it could be a great way to connect with other women on a more personal and spiritual level.
Imagine driving out to somewhere spacious with a few friends, splitting up to spend time with God, and then coming together to flesh out a little bit of your time. Maybe you come away feeling challenged and you need your gal pals to hold you accountable. Maybe you leave with a few less things to worry about on your plate because God convinced you that He’s got it taken care of. Maybe your appetite for His word just grew and you’d like to bounce some reading ideas off of your friends. Maybe you just need them to keep you in mind during their own prayer times.
However you choose, I challenge you, and I’m challenging myself, to take one hour within the next 10 days to drive away from home, to a secluded place. To plan this ahead of time and let your people know that your cell phone will be in your car and that YOU WILL NOT.
We can do this ladies! Who’s with me?
Reflect & Respond:
**Have you ever considered that this should be a part of the life of a believer?
**Mark your calendar within the next 10 days. Text your bff’s right now to plan to go with you if you’d like. Otherwise, just get it done!
I’d love to hear from you. Do you already do this? Frequently? Are you planning to now?
If you’re nervous about doing this alone, reach out to me! We’ll grab some girls and make it happen!
Praying for us to not just skim over this example from Jesus, but to plant it deep and flesh it out,
If you need some help getting started with your prayers, here’s a simple way to think about it.
Praise! Beginning your conversation with your Heavenly Father by praising Him. It takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on Him. It begins a vertical conversation. It recognizes that He is in a position of honor and respect.
Repent! I John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” After we’ve lifted praises to Him, take some time to ask Him to bring any sin to mind that you need to ask forgiveness for. He will be faithful to forgive.
Ask! Once you’ve taken the time to praise Him and start with a clean slate, ask Him for the things that you need. He tells us in Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Ask for yourself as well as any other needs that are on your heart.
Yield! No matter what you’ve talked to the Lord about, ultimately, you need to yield your own will to His. He knows more. He knows best. He knows it all! As Jesus prayed right before His crucifixion, He Himself said in Matthew 26:39 “…“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” He is a good, good father and He knows what is best for us. Trust that.