“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” -Luke 5:16
With the advent of cars and internet, the modern human workload and connectivity and soccer practices and binge watching flood our schedules with travel, noise, and busyness. We humans can survive through our days and nights in this noise without rest; however, our Creator made us to worship Him, not simply survive. Without taking rest in God in needy worship, we will press through our schedules while joy and peace fades into anxiety or indifference. We become downcast.
Christ’s example is set before us to become more like Him. Our Lord had a busy schedule. Many people were coming to Him for healing, massive crowds pressed in around Him hungry for teaching, and Pharisees came with confrontation in attempts to frustrate Him. In the midst of this schedule, the Gospel writer Luke inserts that Jesus made a regular habit to slip away to pray alone. Not with His disciples. He went away alone.
Getting away to pray to the Father, without the company of others or receiving public notice, seems inefficient to the modern person. There are so many things I need to do and needs my attention. Why slip away? What will prayer accomplish? Before we claim that we would never say this, how often do we slip away to pray alone? In practice, we view prayer as useless activity, especially praying without anyone else. Why disconnect? Why slip away? It sounds like driving on a long road trip alone in a car with no working radio.
Spurgeon said, “though infinitely better able to do without prayer than we are, yet Christ prayed much more than we do.” Why? His communion with the heavenly Father, which He won for us. We now enjoy fellowship with God. We can take to Him our troubles and anxieties, our joys and cares.
We are not alone when we slip away to pray alone. If God is simply a subject we talk about in crowds rather than a Person enjoyed in worship of Him, praying alone will seem lonely.
Prayer is part of a life of worship. Enjoying God, being in His presence to delight in Him, this is cause enough to slip away from the noise and the schedule to pray to my heavenly Father. This means we must see communion with God as more delightful than anything else. To persevere in our slipping away into private communion with God in prayer, even through difficulties and trials, our hearts must be set more deeply upon our delight in God and less absorbed in pleasing ourselves through our leisure and busyness in life.
Heavenly Father, grant us grace to crave a deep, private communion with You in our prayers. Guard our hearts through our days that we may slip away from our noisy, busy lives to enjoy being with You. For truly a day in Your courts is better than a thousand days in our earthly pursuits. We ask for your mercies in Jesus’ name. Amen.