Withdrawing to a lonely place to pray can be challenging these days when being busy seems to be a cultural expectation. Work schedules, family responsibilities, social and community engagements, and yes, even church commitments can keep a person busy 24/7. Jesus had a busy schedule, too. In addition to his ministry, Jesus attended social engagements, participated in synagogue, and visited with his family and friends. And yet, in spite of this busy schedule, Jesus understood the importance of withdrawing to lonely places to spend time in prayer with his Father. Not just a few hurried thoughts on the fly to the next event, but intentional time spent in meditation.
Jesus’ actions remind us how to structure our lives. When we allow our schedules, commitments or engagements to take priority over time spent in prayer, our spiritual connection to God diminishes. We may be highly respected for all our accomplishments, but that respect arises from our work. When we set apart time for meditation, our relationship with God is strengthened, and the focus is shifted to the One who gives purpose to our lives. Find your lonely place. Spend time with God.
Forgiving Lord, do not give up on us when we let our busy lives overwhelm our need to spend time with you. Guide us to our lonely place so we may remain in close relationship with you. Amen. — JW