Pursuing Solitude with God

“He withdrew…to a solitary place.” Matthew 14:13

Time alone with the Lord is a good thing. How do I know that? Because Jesus did it. During His time on earth, Jesus was intentional about spending time with His Father. Jesus loved people. He loved to teach them and spend time with them. He chose twelve men to always be around Him, to train and disciple them. But, He still made sure to go off alone off by Himself to pray.  The Bible gives us a number of instances when Jesus went away by Himself. His constant and ongoing intimacy with His Father was the source of everything He did. He set an example for us to follow.

All through the gospels we see that Jesus prioritized times of solitude and silence. Spending time alone in prayer was a major part of His life. He did it when He began His ministry. He did it when he was grieving. He did it before making important decisions and even before teaching his disciples. He did it during the busiest times of His life. And finally He did it before He submitted His life to the Father.

Do we actually “pursue” solitude with God? Are we intentional about it?  We see several instances in the gospels where Jesus pursued solitude with the Father. I think a good way for us to begin spending time alone with God would be to consider those instances and seek to emulate Him in our lives.

So, here are 5 instances we can pursue solitude with God, just like Jesus did.

1. Pursuing Solitude in Times of Grief

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” Matthew 14:13

When Jesus heard the news of the death of his cousin, John, we read that He went away by Himself to a quiet place. When you receive bad news, the best thing you can do for yourself is to withdraw and spend some time with God. The comfort that comes from God is far greater than the comfort that any man can provide. Yes, we need people in our times of grief. It is good to have a support system you can rely on. But, there is a limit to the consolation that man can provide. As for God he knows us inside out. He formed us in our mother’s womb. Who better to comfort and uplift us in our time of pain?

Psalm 84:13 says, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” In John 14:27 God declares that the peace He gives is not as the world gives. It is a peace that passes all understanding. It doesn’t make sense. It can calm and quiet you in the midst of the most tumultuous of situations. You want that peace? Come away with Him to a place where you can be alone with Him. Just God and you.

2. Pursuing Solitude for Effective Prayer

“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Jesus enjoyed going to desolate places to pray. As Luke says “it was his custom.” People flocked around Jesus all the time. They wanted to be healed, to be taught, to be loved, to be forgiven. They just wanted to be around him. In spite of so much happening around him, He made it a priority to get away from everyone and spend time in solitude with his Father. He did this at all times through the day and night. We see him going away to pray “very early in the morning while it was still dark” (Mark 1:35). He went to pray “when it was evening” (Matthew 14:23). And he even “spent the whole night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

Praying alone without any distractions, allows you to give your full attention to God. You are fully present in that moment. A small distraction can end your prayer time very quickly. “Although Christ did not suffer from this weakness, he warned us by his example to be careful to disengage our minds from the snares of the world, so that we may be carried up to heaven.” (John Calvin)

Yes, as a mother of small children it may be difficult to find time “alone” to read your Bible or pray. That’s okay. God understands. Like I’ve said before, it is important to open your Bible in front of your kids, to show them the importance of spending time with God. However, in the lockdown God has really been impressing on my heart to wake up earlier than the kids to spend some alone time with Him. I’m really not a morning person so this doesn’t come naturally to me, but I realized if I go to bed at a decent hour, I am able to get a solid hour so to myself in the morning before the daily hullabaloo begins. It doesn’t have to be in the morning specifically. If that doesn’t work for you, do it when the kids are napping, or late at night after they’re in bed or even while they watch a show on T.V. It is not about the right time or right place or even the right way to pursue solitude, it’s all about the PERSON you invite into your solitude with you.

Corporate prayer also is extremely important, but it is in these moments of quiet solitude that you can hear God’s still small voice. We can enjoy true intimacy with him at such times. Would a friendship be deep and rich if you never spent time alone, just the two of you? Would a marriage be intimate if the couple only saw each other in a group setting? It is in the solitary place that you develop a deeper connection with your Heavenly Father. It is there that your prayers and petitions will align perfectly with His will. It is in solitude that your prayer will be most effective.

3. Pursuing Solitude for Rest and Renewal

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

We are always on the go. There is no time to rest, especially for mothers. You can be most certain that just when you sit down to eat, a child will need the toilet. Another will spill milk all over the freshly mopped floor. There is literally no time to sit and rest. Even if you find time to sit awhile, your mind is working a million miles a minute.

Friends, we need to break away periodically to a place where it’s just Jesus and us. It’s the only way we can give our best to our children, our husbands, our families and friends. We can’t pour from an empty cup. We need go to Jesus so He can fill us before we serve others. If He needed to go get away to rest and rejuvenate, how much more do we? “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16. He knew when it was time to send everyone away, even his closest friends. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Matthew 14:23

In Mark 6:31, Jesus tells his disciples, “Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.” He invites you and me to rest in him. To leave our burdens at His feet and learn from him. Too often we keep going, keep doing, keep working, to the point of exhaustion. Jesus knew the antidote to activity was solitude and silence. Solitude strengthens our relationship with God. It renews our spirits and re-centers our lives.

4. Pursuing Solitude Before and After Decision-Making

Jesus started his ministry with being alone for forty days in the wilderness. This not only prepared him to face Satan’s temptations, but also prepared him for his earthly ministry.

He spent time alone with God before and after any major decision or situation.

Before choosing his twelve disciples. “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” Luke 6:12-13

Before the Transfiguration. “About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.” Luke 9:28

After feeding the five thousand.After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.” Mark 6:46

Before teaching the disciples to pray. “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

When he was baptized. “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened.” Luke 3:21

Who do we go to when we have to make decisions in our lives? Do we turn for advice to our parents, spouses, pastors, and friends?  The very first person we should turn to is God, but often He is the last one to be consulted. Yes, we do have the ability to make our own decisions. But, they turn out much better when we seek God’s guidance first before making a decision. Without the grace of God, our best laid plans can fall apart. When He is involved in our decisions, He equips us with His grace and strength to face every single challenge that may come our way.

5. Pursuing Solitude to Prepare for the Impossible

What was Jesus’ response as he faced the most difficult situation in his life? “Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him. On reaching the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’” (Luke 22:39-42)

We may not have faced such a daunting circumstance in our life and probably never will. But we may face persecutions, trials, illnesses or other trying times in our lives. Like Jesus, let us gather together our trusted friends and spend time in His presence. Jesus wanted his closest friends nearby in his darkest hour, even as He sought solitude and communion with His Father. Dear friends, when we are faced with an overwhelming situation, may we pursue solitude and communion with God, to empower ourselves with His strength, peace, and perseverance.

You may have often heard people say “I can’t seem to find time to spend time with God.” I’ve struggled with this. Perhaps you have too. Finding time is a big problem. Usually we have to sacrifice something else to make time for God. What you can do is- Make a list of your typical day- jot down the main activities that fill up your day. Then look for the “time suckers” in your schedule. For me it was excess time spent on Instagram and aimlessly browsing through Pinterest. For you it may be something else. When you write it down you will realize if you cut some things out, you can definitely carve out some time to spend with your Best Friend. You just have to be intentional.

Friends, in the midst of our busy lives, in times of loneliness and spiritual drought, God is calling us to pursue solitude with Him. It is the only place our hearts can find complete rest. It takes discipline, determination, and sacrifice but it is SO worth it! We were made for this. We were made to have a relationship with Jesus. When you seek Him you will find Him as He has promised in His word.

So, seek Him, pursue Him, and come away with Him to a quiet place. He is calling you.

boredandbusymama
boredandbusymama
Articles: 32

8 Comments

  1. What a relevant topic!Indeed what would we do without this most important part of our,day,our lives!You have brought out the need for this solitude very beautifully!

  2. You touched an important topic. Most of us know this but do not practice it. For Jonah his time with God was when he was in the fish’s belly. What else could he do in the fish’s belly? No distractions! Let us not wait for a crises to start praying. Start spending intimate time with the Lord. Work, targets, pressure all these will be with us always. Like you said we have to be intitional about spending time with the Lord.
    Thanks, your article apoke to me

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