Luke 5:16 NLT
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
The walk with Jesus is best described as unusual. Most things that have attracted me in life have involved a process of slowly mastering a craft or subject. Not so with Christ. Thinking back to where my contact with Jesus began over 40 years ago, I then assumed that I would slowly master this new-found faith. I was naive and ignorant in equal measure!
Certainly there is a body of belief which is true and can be announced, as it frequently is, yet, embracing such knowledge doesn’t in itself make me a disciple. There is behind and at the heart of such knowledge the person of Jesus; my saviour and friend. Establishing relationship with this friend becomes the fascinating reality of this faith we share.
I was quite a loner as a teenager, engaging and disengaging from group activities as and when I chose. On becoming a Christian, I accepted an understanding of togetherness and fellowship and so became more involved with people, believing this was, in fact, Christian community. I began to rely upon the various ways such community met, from formal congregational worship through small groups and informal get-togethers for my spiritual uplift. I became dependent upon the crowd for my primary sense of being one with Christ – yet failed to discern the person of Jesus for myself.
Jesus was well versed in dealing with crowds. Celebrated as a miracle-worker and extraordinary teacher, he was never short of followers and those grateful to be along for the ride. Yet, Jesus knew the heart of his identity lay in the friendship he enjoyed with his Father. Hence, he needed to withdraw and find what the Bible calls a lonely, desolate and solitary place for prayer.
QUESTION: Where do you find your strength to continue the Christian walk? Is it only among the crowd, or have you discovered how to be alone to pray?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in the middle of all the busyness of your life, you knew it was important to be alone with your Father. Help me follow your example.