The Secret Place, Part 1
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.
Solitude is necessary for intimacy.
After accepting Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord many years ago, I practiced the habit of reading His Word first thing in the morning before I started my day. However, as the years went by, I began to realise that besides reading God’s Word and praying about what I’d learned each morning, I must also purposely set aside time to communicate with Jesus and intercede for others on a daily basis. In our busy and noisy world, we literally need to look for a place of solitude in order to maintain intimacy with our Lord.
I prayed for such a place and God gave it to me. Near my office, I found a short path that not many people would go to. So after my lunch, I would take out my little notebook and a pen and prayed while walking up and down this short path. Instead of allowing my natural mind to wonder, I penned down my prayer items in order to better focus on my prayers.
It was difficult getting the habit started as it needed discipline to do it on a daily basis. It also required that I not be afraid to “look weird” walking up and down a short path during lunch time. When questioned, it also required courage to explain that I was prayer-walking. It also required that I put my relationship with God above that with my friends and colleagues who might want to chat with me during lunch time.
Just as Jesus often withdrew from the crowds, I know I need to move away from the voices of others in order to better distinguish God’s Voice.
I also need to choose to disconnect from the demands of certain parasitic relationships that demand my time and my physical and emotional energy to the extent that I become distracted and lose focus on God. Such relationships lead nowhere but only take away the time that I need to spend with God in order to be fully aligned with His will for my life. Such parasitic relationships could be time spent with others where we merely socialise and gossip on a casual basis. We need to guard our time jealously because if those time spent gossiping could be exchanged for time spent with God in prayer, much more would have been achieved.
It also takes self-control and discipline to be willing to depart from deceptive influences which could come in the form of watching television or listening to the opinions of others besides God Himself. We need to be able to discern if God is speaking to us through our friends or if they are being used by Satan to cast doubts and fear in our hearts.
After establishing the habit of daily solitary communion with God, instead of feeling like it is a difficult discipline, I begin to really look forward to my time of sweet fellowship with God each day. I talk with Him and He talks with me and I always feel so refreshed after my time of prayer.
Whatever challenges I may be facing, I come away with a new perspective, with new wisdom in handling the situation in my thoughts and in my actions. Should I be feeling oppressed or misunderstood in my dealings with people, I come away comforted by the love of Jesus and I am strengthened to go back to that same situation with new courage and strength to face the situation.
Through such solitary prayer sessions, I begin to understand why Jesus had to make time in His very busy and hectic schedule in order to pray. As a Son of God, He had to get up early in the morning and align Himself fully with God in order to draw the wisdom and strength to do all that He had to do.
If Jesus, as the Son of God, needed such times with the Father, how much more do we need it in order to function as His children. We must be careful never to assume that we can serve God with our own strength and dismiss the need for daily solitary time with God.
Let us pray.
Dear Lord, thank You that although You created the heavens and the earth and rule over them and I am but dust, You love me and want to spend time communicating with me. Forgive me that I have often given my time to other trivial pursuits. Help me Lord, to desire Your companionship more than anything in the world and thank You that for the times when I managed to spend time with you in solitude, You have never failed to refresh me physically, emotionally & spiritually. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.