Solitude and Prayer

I was reminded again today while studying in the book of Mark that Jesus was such a great role model for us to follow as he prioritized and demonstrated his essential need for solitude and time for prayer to be in communication with God the Father.   Many times this resulted in Jesus just sending the crowd and the disciples away to take the needed time to be alone with God.  Do you find it difficult to set aside the time in this busy world, raising your family, working hard every day?

Through Jesus’ examples we can see that Jesus pursued solitude and prayer when he felt his soul being pulled away from God, to draw nearer to him to be filled up!    To pull away from all the activities and people that could be distracting, even though they were important to him and he loved them. Many times Jesus did this after performing miracles and sometimes it was when he was overwhelmed or sorrowful.  Do you recognize when your soul is vulnerable? Perhaps pray that the Holy Spirit would prompt you to be able to recognize when you begin to feel this way.

Here are a couple of examples:   

After Jesus performs miracles through driving out an impure spirit and healing many

  • Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

After Jesus feeds the 5,000 and before he walks on water

  • Mark 6:45-46 “Immediately, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.”

After the last supper in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow

  • Mark 14:32-34   “They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them.

One important point to consider here, before we move on, is that Jesus did not sit and “meditate” in mindfulness to empty himself out but rather to be in communication with God the Father and to be filled up by the Holy Spirit!  I love the thought of quiet rest and intentional deep-breathing for the benefits of health and relaxation but we cannot confuse those activities with praying and communication with God, the creator of the universe and everything in it and everything that ever was or is to come! 

Kneeling in Prayer

When we are feeling that our souls are vulnerable, feeling fearful, anxious, experienced a tragedy or even a victory, through following Jesus’ example we should be seeking solitude and prayer.  If Jesus needed it, why wouldn’t we need to set ourselves apart for prayer and solitude to be filled up by the Holy Spirit with direction, purpose, and meaning?   To allow ourselves time away from the busy lives to listen, to hear from God, and to just talk to him.  To tell God our struggles, our fears, our needs, our gratitude, and our awe and reverence!  Solitude and prayer with God will keep us on our faith journey!

I love to find time to explore the scriptures too, because that is one of the most powerful ways to hear from God.  I always ask that the Holy Spirit illuminate the scriptures to me and enlighten me to the Word.  Our individual walk and our journey of sanctification is very specific and unique. We can trust that the Holy Spirit will show us what we specifically need to hear at the exact moment. That specific understanding or revelation in our life.  Spending time in the Living Word of God is so powerful!  We are at our best in the presence of Jesus!

As I mentioned, the Word is so powerful, that it is important to me to use a lot of scripture in any article that I write.  I do this so that the Living Word of God can penetrate through to the hearts, mind, soul, and spirit of all that read it through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Here are some of my favorite scriptures about its power and purpose:

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  (I love to think of this as 2-way communication.  I read the word and the Holy Spirit enlightens me.  God then knows my thoughts and my attitudes)! 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Jesus Is tested in the Wilderness (and every time Jesus responded with “It is written”)!  Doesn’t that just encourage us to get in the word so we can repeat it back when we need it!  In our thoughts and out loud too!

Matthew 4:1-10 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

I hope and pray that you find time to follow the example of Jesus and get filled up by the Holy Spirit too.  When you are going through rough waters, when you are anxious, weak, sorrowful, and yes even victorious, that you would trust the one that has authority over all things!

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