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The Spiritual Discipline of Solitude

Please remember to be praying for our Pastor and Mission Team as they serve in the Dominican Republic this week. Also be praying for church members Russ and Kay Williams who are in Taiwan serving with International School Project mission.

I recently heard a report that a church member had said, “I never get asked to do anything around here.” As Discipleship Pastor it is part of my job to help you find places of service at Bradfordville. So let me suggest two things for you if you are wondering how to best serve:

  1. Join a Sunday School class. Tell your teacher you would like to help in some way. Be willing to accept whatever assignment she or he gives you.
  2. Call me and say, “I’d like to help.” I will be glad to talk with you about your interests, experience and spiritual gifts. I promise we will find something you can do.

While thinking about how important it is to be serving, here is an article I recently read about a spiritual discipline that is rarely talked about.

The Spiritual Discipline of Solitude

Jesus went away from his disciples on many occasions. This journey into solitude and silence enabled Him to hear directly from His Father—a very valuable and productive experience. Over a half-dozen times, Jesus went to the mountains to pray and be alone with His Father. In Luke 6:12, Jesus went away to pray and then in verse 14 he chose the 12 Apostles. In Matthew 14:22 and following verses, after Jesus sent the disciples to the other side of the lake, He went away to pray and then came to them in the midst of their terror and calmed the storm.

I believe it is important to note that as we experience times of solitude, we are much better prepared to fill the expectations held for us by our church, our families and even ourselves.
What can we gain from times of solitude?

  • God’s presence in our lives—Exodus 33:14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
  • A sense of true rest—Psalm 116:7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
  • A realistic escape from trouble—Psalm 55:6 And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest;
  • Prompting for Christian service—Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

What should you do to experience solitude?

  • Schedule a time, whether it is 10 minutes a day or an afternoon per week. Put it on your agenda and keep that time until it becomes a habit.
  • Shut the door to your room or draw away to any area where you can be alone. Sit with both feet on the floor and ask God to speak to you. Sometimes a short prayer like “Lord Jesus” might be used to keep you focused. When ideas come to your mind, write them down, but refocus your mind to silence so that God can speak.
  • Leave your prayer list alone during this time. This is God’s time for instructing, encouraging and loving you— not your time to try and check off your prayer requests.
  • After you have sat with God for whatever length of time you have chosen, end the session with the Lord’s Prayer. When you give God the time, He will speak to you. Your effectiveness doesn’t depend on your skill sets nearly as much as it does on your dependency on God and quietly sitting in His presence. See what happens!

Pastor Rick Stewart

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