“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV) “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12 (NIV)
We were created with an innate need for fellowship. God wants us to interact with others…. Building relationships with those who believe in Jesus and those who do not. We are not supposed to be islands.
But in addition to your fellowship with flesh and blood, be sure to set aside daily quiet time(s) to commune with God. This spiritual time of fellowship with your Creator will increase your intimacy with Christ. Your personal relationship with God will deepen as you ruminate and consider His character and meditate on His holy Word.
“May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.: Psalm 104:34 (NKJV)
Seek out a place where there are no distractions, so you can give God your undivided attention. During prayer and meditation your focus should be entirely on God. Wait patiently on the Lord and still your emotions, calm your heart, and listen with your spirit.
Solitary moments of prayer (be they for but a minute or an entire day) are one of the most important disciplines a saint can pursue. It requires focus, time, and an attitude of expectant communion. When we find ourselves at the feet of Christ, with no one else to carry our burdens, leaning into God’s grace will be eye opening and poignant.
During such times of prayerful solitude, seeking God’s direction and help, don’t try to make something happen. Just bring your transparent self to the Lord and BE with Him. It may take some time before your mind is still enough to recognize His small still voice. Be patient. He may have only one word for you. He may not have any words for you, but remember that He is still present in that silence.
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)
There are several scriptures that mention how Jesus went off to solitary places to pray. One of the most important and well-known examples is when He took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked His friends to pray for Him while He went to a solitary place, seeking His Father in prayer.
Jesus also went into the desert alone to fast and pray for forty days and forty nights. In this solitary place He was tempted by the enemy, but never lost His self-control or purpose/vision. His trial and time of testing prepared Him for the next leg of His journey.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be temptedby 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.’” Matthew 4:1-4 (NIV)
Consider going on a “date” with Jesus. No double dates, just you and your Savior!! If you feel led, also consider a fast. The hunger you experience will remind you of the reason for your “date.” It will help in keeping your attention focused heavenwards and on the one above. It also makes a difference in the spiritual realm. Remember, you are not fighting or wrestling with mere flesh and blood during your prayer times.
The importance and benefits of group prayer are undeniable. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” However, there is also a place and purpose for the prayer closet. Intercessory prayer in only the sight of God is powerful, effective, and a mighty weapon against the schemes of the enemy.
Solitude is not always comfortable but it is never a bad thing, if it’s purpose is to seek out God. At no time will you be completely alone for you are never out of God’s sight or reach. God built you for relationship, and that includes a PERSONAL relationship with Him. Seek and He will be found. This is a biblical promise and God does not lie.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)
“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.” Mark 1:35 (NIV)
“Then Jesus went with His disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with Him, and He began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then He said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.”
Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with Me for one hour?” He asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”
When He came back, He again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So He left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)