“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
With the small word often a gigantic truth is revealed: it was the habit of Jesus to withdraw into solitude and silence in order to pray. The spiritual masters of the past and present speak with one accord when they say that it is virtually impossible to grow spiritually without regular times of quiet solitude with God. Indeed, Jesus’ practice harks back to the beginning of time and the principle of Sabbath rest. Following Jesus into His habit of retreat will bring streams of refreshment to dry and thirsty souls.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 23, Jesus as a Role Model of Personal Passion in Prayer by Howard Baker).
Lord Jesus, I am humbled by the recognition that Your earthly life was characterized by constant communion with the Father and that even now You live to intercede for me! How often I allow busyness and the pull of other things in my life to interfere with prayer. Forgive me for my neglect of the time spent in solitude and silence connecting with Your heart! Draw me back into the holy rhythms and habits that so characterized Your life so that my spiritual journey stays focused upon life in the Spirit rather than being sidelined by distractions!
Adore the merciful God who has given you “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3). Give thanks that you have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you” (1:4). Seek God’s forgiveness as you confess times when you fail to maintain your hope. Commit yourself to seeing trials as opportunities in which your faith “may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1:7). Ask God to fill you “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1:8-9).
The Lord says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isa. 1:18). Pray that unsaved persons will understand that God desires to forgive and that they will seek that forgiveness.
—Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.