"But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and great multitudes were gathering to hear Him, and to be healed of their sicknesses, but He Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." Luke 5:15
Principle: Isolation with God in prayer is enhanced by separation from others. Separation from the herd provides the quietness and solitude that enables the voice of God to be heard. Getting alone with God often requires getting away from others. General crowd noise is a detriment to uninterrupted, barrier breaking conversation with God.
Luke's Gospel reveals a great deal about the prayer life of Jesus. Jesus lived in a climate of consistent companionship and constant communication with His Father. While He was praying, The Holy Spirit descended on Him for ministry, and God expressed His pleasure with His Son. The synergistic work of the Trinity was revealed and released through the prayer life of the Lord Jesus. (Luke 3:21-22)
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, His ministry expanded. Luke records that people were pressing around Him, and listening to the word of God. (Luke 5:1) Jesus was having a great deal of outward success, and with it came a need in His life for time alone with God. More than the outward signs of a vital ministry, Jesus loved His time alone with God. His powerful public ministry was directly linked to His private retreats to find The Presence of God.
Jesus did not wait until a crisis in ministry developed before He got alone with God. He would often slip away into the wilderness and pray. This retreat was His way of maintaining and sustaining a healthy public ministry. Compassion fatigue and burn out are not recent ministry developments. Jesus resisted being drained dry by the demands of needy people, by making sure He kept in touch with God in prayer. He risked burning bridges with some people, by maintaining His bridge to God in prayer. He was stronger for it, and His prayer life empowered Him to build a bridge strong enough to carry a lost world into the Presence of God.
Private prayer is a powerful means of communication that is at the disposal of the believer, and allows for uninterrupted time with God. It often requires isolation from the distractions of life to achieve the highest quality of intimacy. Isolation does not always mean a departure from evil. Satan is the enemy of the best. If he can get a Christ follower to be content or focused on a good ministry, then they may let that become an idol for time alone with God. Isolation in prayer will often require a separation from what is good, in order to get in on what is best. Time alone with God.
Total availability to others does not allow for adequate availability to God. Time with God has to be carved out of busy schedules, and pressing agendas. Unless private prayer becomes a personal priority, then time with God will never be pried out of the clutches of demanding people and pressing circumstances.
The Practice of Prayer: Take time today to free yourself from texting, Twitter, I-pods, telephones, Blackberry's, call waiting, Facebook, My Space, email, instant messaging, faxes, cable, TV, talk radio, and total Internet access. Take a good hard look at your daily schedule or weekly routine. Is any time being lost that could be spent getting alone with God in prayer? It will cost you to carve out time for prayer. It will cost you more if you do not. To make time for God, you will have to take time away from someone else. Don't feel guilty. Jesus did it. When we follow Jesus, He will often lead us to time alone with His Father.
Thought for the Day: The wilderness is a relative concept. It does not require an escape to the sea shore, the mountains, or the desert. Many people vacation to these locations, and still never find time for God. They pack their distractions, or plug into them when they arrive. Your wilderness is any place in this world where you achieve a separation from demanding people and draining distractions. It may be early in the morning, late at night or any time day or night where you can achieve an isolation with God. Remember, if you are totally available to others you will be of little use to God. He does not need your ability, but your availability.
"Pray without ceasing. How can we learn to do that? The best way of learning to do a thing, in fact the only way, is to do it. Begin by setting apart some time every day. Christ chose you and appointed you to pray for others." Andrew Murray