Luke, who tells us more about Jesus' prayer life than any other Gospel writer, noted that...
...Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16; TNIV)
If Jesus withdrew from crowds and ministry regularly, surely there are advantages for us to follow his lead.
Here are four reasons to withdraw in order to pray
- Solitude. The busyness and noise of our lives keep us from hearing the voice of God. God speaks to us every day, but we miss it because we fill our lives with busyness* and noise in an effort to fill the voids that only God can fill. Richard Foster's group, Renovare, reminds us, Solitude is "An open relational space for being found by God and freed from competing loyalties." When was the last time you created space to be found by God and to hear His voice?
- Survival. You cannot survive spiritually (or otherwise) without time away from the fray. @johnortberg tweeted last week a saying of Vance Havner, "if u don't come apart for a while, u'll come apart after a while." You can't run your car without stopping for gas. Why do you think you can do that with your soul?
- Spiritual protection. We are in a spiritual battle for hearts and minds. We have an enemy who is hellbent on our destruction. Withdrawing to "suit up" (Eph. 6:10-17) is essential to know the enemy and discover how to combat his "schemes." When was the last time to retreated to get supplies and observe the strategies of the Evil One?
- Stay on mission with the One who sent you. Imagine a military unit sent to accomplish a mission and never radioing into their CO as to where they were, what they encountered, or the need for additional support and troops! Why do we think we can be the sent ones without ever checking in with the one who sent us?!? When did you last withdraw to see if you were really doing what God sent you here to do as the church, at home, and in the world?
If you would like to hear my message on this habit of Jesus, you can hear it here. Join us at Legacy Church as we learn to pray like Jesus.