"So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed." Luke 5:16
Let's breakdown the four key words in this powerful verse.
- Often. Often simply means habitual, something you do frequently enough that it is expected, repeated and noticed by others. Whether it is go to church, play golf, or go shopping, whatever you do often other will say, "There they go again."
- Withdrew. To withdraw means to retire quietly, to step aside, to remove yourself from the current situation. Withdrawal is a conscious effort to take a break from whatever the circumstance. (If you are still reading this post, I bet you may need to withdraw from something.)
- Wilderness. A wilderness is an area of waste, a desert, a desolate, solitary, uninhabited and often lonely region. At face value, it is a scary place to consciously enter. Just like in the classic movie, The Wizard of Oz, we imagine our wilderness to be filled with "Lions and tigers and bears—Oh My."
- Prayed. Prayer is the reason Jesus ran into the wilderness. It seems to have been His main (only?) activity there.
How Jesus Prayed
When asked by His disciples to teach them how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13), Jesus modeled a powerful prayer process. Although I have previously written on this prayer process, here is a quick overview of the five powerful areas of focus in Jesus' model prayer:
- Praise (Matthew 6:9): "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name."
- Power (Matthew 6:10): "Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven."
- Provision (Matthew 6:11): "Give us this day our daily bread."
- Protection (Matthew 6:12-13A): "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one..."
- Praise (Matthew 6:13b): "For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
It is very safe to assume that these focus areas are exactly how Jesus spent time with the Father during His wilderness experiences.
But one huge question remains.
ROI of a Wilderness Experience
So what was Jesus' ROI (return on investment) for His wilderness experiences? Now back to Luke 5.
We've already learned the four key words that led into Jesus' wilderness experience, and have glanced at the five areas of His focus there in prayer.
The mega-question then is: What did Jesus walk away with from His wilderness experience? Luke 5:17 gives us the answer.
"Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them." Luke 5:17
When Jesus emerged from His wilderness, He:
- Was living His destiny though teaching.
- Speaking to the lost who were sitting by.
- Witnessing to the many with ears to hear who came out from every town, and
- Demonstrating miracles through the power that was flowing through Him.
Destiny, witness, power and miracles are all based upon Jesus embracing His wilderness.
No wonder He often ran into the wilderness. And so should we.
4 Questions To Answer
It's time you embraced—even ran toward—your wilderness. As you do, here are four questions you must answer.
- Where is your wilderness—the specific location, the best place, to withdraw?
- When/how often do you need to go there?
- How long do you need to stay?
- What will / could stop you from going & what will you do about that?
Never again fear your wilderness. Rather, just like Jesus, actively run into your wilderness to exit into your destiny and power for miracles.
Dr. Jim Harris is president of The Jim Harris Group, an international speaking and advising firm dedicated to helping believers in business unleash their unfair advantage in the marketplace. He is the author of Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business and numerous other award winning business books.
This article originally appeared at drjimharris.com.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.