Daily Lent Devotional #41 (4/18/2011)

Today’s Topic:  “Embracing Solitude Like Jesus”

Mark 1:35

“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.”

Luke 5:16

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

Matthew 14: 34-35

13 “When Jesus heard what had happened [the beheading of John the Baptist], he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Mark 6: 30-32

30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” 32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

As is shown by the passages above (and many more), Jesus valued solitude and worked hard to impart that spiritual discipline to his followers.  Some great books have been written on this topic of “sacred rhythms”.  What this means is that there seems to be a rhythm to life that Jesus modeled and we are called to follow.  In addition to the various other spiritual disciplines that exist to help us stay on track; here’s the basic formula:

Alone Time With God

Fellowship Time with Family and Other Christians

Work and Ministry Time Among Christians and Unchristians

Repeat Cycle 🙂

Here are some more thoughts from author Henri Nouwen on the spiritual disciplines of Solitude and Prayer.  May you embrace these as essential building-blocks for growth in your life!

As soon as we are alone, without people to talk with, books to read, TV to watch, or phone calls to make, an inner chaos opens up.  This chaos is so disturbing and so confusing that we can hardly wait to get busy again… when we remove our outer distractions, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves to us in full force.

Intuitively, we know that it is important to spend time in solitude. We even start looking forward to this strange period of uselessness. This desire for solitude is often the first sign of prayer, the first indication that the presence of God’s Spirit no longer remains unnoticed. As we empty ourselves of our many worries, we come to know not only with our mind, but also with our heart, that we never were really alone—that God’s Spirit was with us all along.In solitude, we come to know the Spirit who has already been given to us. 

The pains and struggles we encounter in our solitude thus become the way to hope, because our hope is not based on something that will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God’s healing Spirit in the midst of these sufferings. The discipline of solitude allows us gradually to come in touch with this hopeful presence of God in our lives.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on April 18, 2011 at 6:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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