"After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone" (Matt. 14:23, NASB).
At times, Jesus sent the crowds away for His own benefit, and it seems reasonable to me that He might do exactly the same thing from time to time in the lives of His children.
Children love play dates, hanging out with their friends and having the entire neighborhood over for a kickball match in the front yard, don't they? But it is the prerogative of the mother to say, "It is time for your friends to go home. You need some time alone."
During the solitary moments in my life, I have discovered who I was lovingly created to be, while prolonged time periods spent among the crowds often obscure my true identity.
"And it happened that while He was praying alone ..." (Luke 9:18).
As we learn from the example of Jesus concerning the opportunity and hidden blessing of loneliness in the life of a believer, we must observe what He did when He, too, was alone. It actually seems to me that Jesus was in the habit of proactively being alone so that He could spend time in prayer.
I believe that we should imitate everything Jesus chose to do during His time on earth, and if it was beneficial for Him to choose to be alone in order to pray, it will be beneficial for us to do the same.
"Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray" (Mark 6:45-46).
Do you find yourself in an interval of life when you are often alone? Then let me just encourage you to use those uninterrupted hours to pray to the Father. This time of seemingly arid living can be turned into a thriving garden of the Lord's presence if you will only choose to pray.
Often, during such periods, instead of praying, we prefer to binge-watch Netflix, read the latest romance novel, talk endlessly on the phone or complain on social media. What if God has wisely appointed you to a season of solitary living so that you can grow closer to Him? What if God has sent the crowd away from your life so that you are able to experience breakthroughs and miracles in prayer? What if you will never experience the true love of the Father unless you actually spend time with Him?
Now, when you choose to pray, not only will you bask in the loving arms of the One who created you, but you will also move heaven and earth! What better way to spend your time than to partner with God to make a difference in the world while on your knees? Days and even years of solo moments are never wasted when we choose to pray.
We often mistakenly identify a season of loneliness as a time of insignificance rather than as an opportunity to wield the greatest significance of our entire lives. There is a divine assignment with your name on it that loneliness is not able to erase. While you are feeling alone, you can either alienate yourself or you can fulfill the plan of God for your life.
Times of being alone should never be dreaded but should be viewed as a purposeful gift from our Creator. Prayer is able to revolutionize loneliness into a lovely and vibrant garden of living!
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical, biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol has written 11 books, including Significant, StormProof and Guide Your Mind, Guard Your Heart, Grace Your Tongue. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming.
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