You and I live in a day that’s fast-paced. The noise level around us seems to be higher now than days past. Technology keeps us connected with other people 24/7. The temptation to answer emails, text messages, and social media posts “after hours,” on days off, and during vacation breaks is real.
How do you and I find balance in today’s culture? I believe the answer lies in understanding and practicing solitude. Solitude isn’t a discipline that we hear discussed much these days. However, a careful study of God’s Word reveals the need for solitude. Jesus knew the spiritual value of pulling away from the demands and expectations of people and spending time with His Father. Mark 1:35 says, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
Let me give you five personal challenges about solitude.
- Study what the Bible teaches about solitude. Paul was saved on the Damascus Road. Following his call to ministry, the Lord led Paul into Arabia for years to prepare him for ministry (Gal. 1:15-18). John’s boldness for the living and written Word resulted in him being placed on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9). In a time of solitude, John worshipped the Lord (Rev. 1:17). Solitude permeates the pages of Scripture.
- Read a selected book about solitude. I love reading books authored by many spiritual giants of decades past. Those men and women knew how to spend time with the Lord. Their dedication to study, pray, rest, confess, and worship challenges and inspires me. Studying the lives of godly men and women is a transformational spiritual exercise.
- Talk with another believer about solitude. A teachable spirit is a sign of spiritual maturity. It’s wise to learn from godly men and women who know how to walk with the Lord. I appeal for you to find a brother or sister in Christ who regularly practices the discipline of solitude and learn from him or her. Ask God’s servant specific questions about spending time with the Lord in a solitary place.
- Plan a time to practice solitude. As you look at your calendar, I appeal for you to plan a day, or even a portion of a day, to pull away and draw near to the Lord. Invest minutes or hours in Bible study, personal rest, fervent prayer, Spirit-led confession, and personal worship. As you plan your time of solitude, ask the Lord to lead you to a special place. As much as possible, you want a place that’s free of distractions. If possible, pause from answering emails, text messages, phone calls, and social media posts. You want to position yourself to hear from the Lord and marvel in His presence.
- Journal the spiritual benefits of solitude. Many of us are experts at making lists. As God speaks and reveals His ways, it’s a wise practice to write those insights down. Keeping a journal also helps you remember and reflect on your time with the Lord. And as another benefit, you’re able to discuss your spiritual journey with another person. You can share new insights from God’s Word; you can talk about prayer and the move of God; you can celebrate the wonder of God-centered worship; you can feel refreshed because the Lord led you to rest; and you can rejoice how Spirit-prompted confession set you free.
As I write this article, I’m asking the Lord for a time and place to practice the discipline of solitude. I never want to ask you to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself. As you draw near to the Lord in a solitary place, I’d love to hear how the Lord touched and changed you. You can always send me an email, giving me the honor of rejoicing with you.
We plan to observe the Lord’s Supper this Sunday. May the Lord be pleased and honored as we remember His sacrifice in worship! And as we enjoy Memorial Day weekend, let’s remember the many brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for our freedom. “May the fallen never be forgotten!”
Drawing Near to the Lord,