Withdrawing for Prayer
Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray.
Jesus not only taught us words to pray, but his life gave us a pattern for prayer. Jesus often would withdraw to a deserted place to pray. This was not the only occurrence that we read about in the New Testament. What’s interesting about the use of withdraw here is that it implies that it happened frequently, and that Jesus found prayer so important that he made himself intentionally inaccessible. To be able to spend the time that Jesus needed in prayer, he had to stop the preaching, teaching and healing and get completely away from the people to spend time alone with the Father.
Sometimes I think we set up a dichotomy and begin to argue over which is more important in our spiritual lives. Is it getting to know Christ? Or is it participating in Christ’s mission in the world? The reality is that we need both and it is in getting to know Christ that we can then join with Christ in participating in his mission in the world. But the only way in which we will really get to know Christ is by spending time with him. This means that we have to make knowing Christ a priority in our lives and that means prayer has to become a priority.
The most revealing thing about Jesus’ activity was that he intentionally withdrew to pray. There were always people who needed to be healed. There were always people who wanted to hear him preach. He could have worked 24-7 and still not reached everyone and yet, he intentionally established boundaries for his personal life.
If we are going to get to know Christ and be empowered by uniting with him, then we have to be intentional about our prayer life. We have to withdraw from everything else that we have on our plates and spend time alone with Jesus. If Jesus had to do this, how much more so do we? Jesus had to spend time with the Father and in doing so the Father’s passions became his passions, and the Father’s strength became his strength. The Father’s desires were his desires. The result was Jesus’ very effective ministry.
Slow down. Take time to withdraw to pray. The work will still be there, but just like Jesus, we will be recharged and able to tackle our work more focused and empowered.
Lord, please help me know you more. Amen.
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