“And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23 (ESV)
“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 (ESV)
“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)
“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)
“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed.” Luke 22:41 (ESV)
The above verses share a common denominator: Jesus Christ. They are either describing His deliberate decision to seek solitude for times of prayer or they are His very words in teaching His disciples how to pray. And if you haven’t guessed it yet, the secret to solitude is simply this: intentionality and priority.
We live in a busy, stressful, chaotic world, and time is fleeting and increasingly valuable. Most of us don’t have time to spare. Our days, weeks, and months are filled from sun up to sun down, and sometimes just the thought of adding another thing into the mix is overwhelming. I believe this is why Jesus’ actions in regards to solitude were repeatedly recorded by His disciples, because He is our model and example for solitude. We don’t have to guess at what this should look like in our lives. We just have to do it. How did Jesus do it? He removed Himself from the crowds and even from His select few within His inner circle, and He sought out solitude.
If we’re waiting for solitude to find us, we might as well wait forever because it’s never going to happen. If we want to grow in our relationship with the Lord, if we want to develop daily quiet times of reading His Word, if we want our prayer life to grow, we must prioritize it. The responsibility is on us, and the perhaps “difficult to swallow” reality is that we make time for what matters most in our life. I’m sure you and I both have said that there isn’t enough time in the day. Still, you and I both have probably managed to get done the things that need to get done, to meet deadlines, to finish “to do” lists. Perhaps our greatest problem is not that we’re not daily finding time to spend with Jesus but rather that this very crucial and important thing isn’t even making it on our lists, and certainly not towards the top of our lists.
Friends, this needs to change. You cannot expect to have a healthy and growing relationship with your spouse if you never spend time together and never communicate. How then, do we assume that our faith will grow and our willingness to persevere through trials will increase if we are not spending time at the feet of the One who grants us both things?
Are you grasping at straws, trying to figure out what the secret to solitude is? Are you desperate to find time that just doesn’t seem to be there? Allow God’s Word to inform you today. The secret to solitude is a matter of intentionality and priority. Without either, we can’t expect it to happen. Seek Him today. Walk away from the noise. Tune the world out for a moment. Embrace the silence. Perhaps all of the noise has replaced the whisper that used to be so clear. Sit at His feet, and be filled.