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. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for You!’ (Mk. 1:35-37)
Pastor Jack Hayford says that times of solitude and waiting on the Lord are the “hallmark of people who walk steadfastly with the Lord—people who experience trials and come through with faithfulness, stability, and strength of character.” But how can something so simple be so powerful?
Have you ever tried to deliver a life-changing talk, pray a heart-healing prayer, or speak words of compassionate comfort when you’re depleted yourself? We all have. But that’s not what God intends for us. He intends to be our Source, refreshing us so we in turn can refresh others. Jesus said that we speak out of the overflow of our hearts (Lk. 6:45). He promised us living water that would flow out of us and into other people (Jn. 7:37). Through His Spirit, He wants to enable us to be streams of water in the desert for those around us who are parched (Isa. 32:2).
The problem is, we view refreshment as a luxury rather than a necessity. We say, “A day alone with God sounds wonderful but I can’t do it because I’ve got meetings and appointments and projects and commitments and responsibilities.” So we minister on empty.
Jesus looks at things differently. No one can argue about having more demands on His time than Jesus. Yet to Him, it was impossible not to spend extended time with the Father. Luke tells us that Jesus frequently took extended time alone with His Father (see 5:16, 6:12, 21:37, 22:39-40). Jesus had to protect that time and make it a priority, just as we do.
Lord Jesus, my deepest desire is to grow more like You each day, yet I disobey even Your most basic principles for life and ministry. I confess that I often function on empty, when I have nothing of substance to give anyone. When I am worn out or anxious as a result of striving, I do not take the time to draw apart with You and be refreshed. Forgive my arrogance in thinking that “doing” is more important than “being” in Your Presence, for I know that I can be a life-giving person only when Your life flows from me! Draw me into Your rest when I am weary, and give me a yielded heart ready to be filled up from Your endless supply of grace.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 28, Personal Prayer Retreats by Cynthia Bezek). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God, who is your rock, your fortress, and your deliverer (2 Sam. 22:2).
Thank God for delivering you from your sins and for promising to keep you safe from harm even into old age (Isa. 46:4). Confess times when you’ve played with temptation and not sought God’s way out. Commit yourself to living a holy and godly life. Ask God to deliver you from the evil one day by day (Mt. 6:13).
God is a God who rescues and saves (Dan. 6:27). Pray that God will rescue and save persons you know who do not yet believe. Ask that they will find God to be the rock, fortress, and deliverer they’ve been looking for all along.
Resources for Prayer Leaders:
Prayerleader.com is a website devoted to growing prayer in the local church.
The Church Prayer Leaders Network is for anyone who desires to see his or her church make prayer foundational to its entire ministry. Click the link to find out the advantages to being a member of the CPLN!