“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” — Luke 5:16 (ESV)
Having Time Alone
Why is time alone with God so important? Why can’t just going to church, a community group or a Bible study be enough? Those of us who have grown up in church or have been going to church for many years have been told that time spent alone with God is vital to our relationship with Him. Many of us, however, were never given a reason why. And in order for us to consistently and effectively engage in this crucial practice, we must understand why it is so important.
Here’s what we learn from Scripture about having time alone with God: Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Jesus spent time alone with His Heavenly Father. Luke 5:16 states, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Mark 1:35 states, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed.” Often in Scripture, Jesus withdrew from the crowd to pray. So the first reason to spend time alone with God is because Jesus did. If Jesus needed time alone with His Heavenly Father, we can all be sure we need it even more. Jesus walked in God’s presence constantly. Jesus constantly responded to God’s will for His life. He is our perfect example. And even still, He needed time alone with God.
We also see from Jesus’ example that time alone with God empowers us to carry out God’s purpose for our life. It was after withdrawing into the wilderness in Luke 4 that He began performing miracles. Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane filled with grief and sorrow, asking God for a way other than His own death to achieve salvation for His people. After spending time alone with God, He came out of the garden empowered to endure the worst atrocity in history. Spending time alone with God empowers us to live a life filled with a knowledge of God’s purposes and the ability to faithfully see them through.
Lastly, Jesus is clear in Matthew 6:5-6 how we are to pray. Scripture says, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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.” God rewards time spent alone with Him in prayer. It’s by praying in secret that we clearly and tangibly encounter God’s love for us. It’s by spending time engaging in conversation with the Spirit that we learn what His voice sounds like. It’s by asking God questions that we discover His will. And it’s by spending time alone with Him that our lives become centered around His nearness and goodness.
All of the money in the world cannot buy the rewards God longs to give you. All the favor of men will not satisfy your insatiable desire to be fully known and fully loved. Receive right now the best gift you could be offered — one-on-one communion with your Heavenly Father.
— Craig Denison, First15
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