Retreating for Strength

Daily Devotional: Day 220 |By Stephen Bilson-Ogoe

“And he [Jesus] withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:16, KJV).

A non-praying Christian (if there is such a thing) is an unhealthy Christian.

Jesus taught us how to pray, not only through “The Lord’s Prayer,” but by the example of His life. As you read the Gospels, there is no doubt that the Messiah was a Man of prayer. The most important part of Jesus’ ministry was the time He spent praying to the Father. In today’s Scripture reading, Luke tells us that Jesus withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”

Before this, Jesus had healed a man of leprosy, and multitudes of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their infirmities (cf. Luke 5:12-15). His messianic ministry kept Him busy, but Jesus did not let His busy schedule keep Him from making time for prayer. This took effort and discipline.

A chapter earlier, in Luke 4:1, we are told that soon after He had been baptized and the Holy Spirit had come upon Him, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). In today’s reading, the Bible says Jesus withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed. Prayer was an important part of His daily life, and He made time for it. Lots of people wanted to seem, and He could have spent all or most of His time with them.

 He, nevertheless, prioritized prayer. And He showed this by withdrawing Himself from the crowd to be alone with the Father. Jesus did not pray because He was facing a crisis. He prayed because time spent with the Father is time well spent. We can learn from His prayer life.

If there ever was a time when Christians needed to withdraw themselves from their busy life to pray, that time is now.

The fast pace life of today, coupled with the barrage of electronic devices, makes it easy to be distracted. In such an environment, you need to strive to make time to pray, because your spiritual health depends on regular prayer. From time to time, it might be necessary to withdraw yourself – like Jesus did – to be alone with God. You will have time if you make time. It’s a question of setting priorities.

No matter how busy your schedule is, you can squeeze at least a few minutes to turn your heart and mind to the Father. There is a time to pray together with fellow believers, but that should not replace the time you need to spend alone with God. Many times, God wants time with you alone. And there are things about you that you will only discover through praying in solitude.

Don’t wait to have a crisis before you pray. When you develop the habit of praying, you will be spiritually prepared, crisis or no crisis. If not, you will be scrambling when hard times arrive. Your prayer life should be more proactive and less reactive. Cut the noise. Cut the distractions. Enjoy time with your Father in heaven. He has many things to show you.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ abound unto you today! Amen.

For further study: Matthew 4:1-11

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