Christ Exemplified ... Solitude
November 1, 2002 - "Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."(1) Mark 1:35, NIV
by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
During His earthly life, Jesus made a habit of withdrawing to be alone with the Father. This habit so marked His life that the Gospel writers, who wrote their Gospels many years after Jesus had ascended to the right hand of God, recorded it. It was important enough that the Spirit of God prompted them to write on the eternal record of the Gospels that Jesus sought out solitude. He deliberately and purposefully made time to be alone with God the Father.
Jesus was fully aware that He was always with the Father, that He and God were never separated: "The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."(2) Yet, He felt compelled to seek out solitude. Why?
The focus of Jesus' life was to stay perfectly attuned to His Father's voice. He was determined to live every moment in harmony with the Father's will: " 'My food,' said Jesus, 'is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.' "(3) He knew that to fulfill this purpose would require long stretches of time, sometimes all night long, alone with God.
If Jesus needed solitude in order to keep His earthly steps synchronized with the Father's heart, then is there any doubt that you and I need to schedule our days so that our first priority is time alone with God? This scheduled solitude is not so that God can hear you, but so that you can hear God. He has things to tell you and truth to impart to you that you can hear only in silence. He wants you to know His secrets: "The Lord confides in those who fear him."(4) Secrets are told in whispers; they are not exchanged in the hustle-bustle of life, but in quiet places and in quiet moments.
Jesus gave these instructions about prayer: "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen."(5) The following steps can help us to apply this advice to our times of solitude:
1. Determine the time and consider it a sacred appointment.
2. Set aside a place as your meeting place with the Father. Keep your Bible and other study tools in that place.
3. Keep your focus on Him. If your mind wanders, bring it back, and you will be able train your thoughts to stay fixed on Him.
Determinedly seek time alone with God!