Jesus sought solitude before he began his ministry. He spent an entire night in prayer before he chose his twelve disciples. He trained his disciples to rest along the way as he taught them to take the gospel to all nations.
Jesus, also, often withdrew just to pray. Not before a big decision, not to start something new, but just to be in communion with his Father.
16But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.Luke 5:16
I am sure many really good reasons for regular prayer exist. As I write this, I am struck by this particular passage. Reading what comes just before Jesus going away may shed light on his why…
15But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases.Luke 5:15
Keeping things in perspective motivated Jesus. The devil tempted him in the wilderness to subvert God’s plan for saving the world by doing it his way. It included bowing down to worship the devil, doing stunts to gain popularity and attention, using his creative power to produce food. Jesus said no to all of that, but he needed to keep God’s way front and center. He did that by withdrawing to pray.
I don’t know about you, but I can start something with the best of intentions and finish in a cloud of smoke by focusing on what people are saying (the report of his power spread) and how many people show up (vast crowds came to hear him preach). Even focusing too much on how many people read my blog can be a hinderance to me.
Do you feel yourself slipping away from God’s purposes for your life? Do the praises, accolades and appreciation of others distract you? Perhaps stepping away for a few minutes in the wilderness will help tighten your focus and bring things back into perspective!