How to Pray

This devotional is written by Charlotte Anderson. Charlotte is queen of all things prayer at St Mary's.

Luke 5:15-16

15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Reflection

There are so many verses about Jesus withdrawing to lonely or solitary places and recently as we go through this period of isolation I have found myself particularly drawn to them. I am an introvert, I love alone time but quite frankly recently I have been wondering what on earth Jesus is up to being alone quite so much. Personally I have had enough ‘lonely' and ‘solitary' over the past few weeks to last me until at least October 2021...

It is interesting that most of these verses about Jesus withdrawing are surrounded by passages about people making demands on him, for healing, to hear the wise Rabbi teach; he is pursued by massive crowds. I think Jesus is full of love and no way resentful of these things – after all, it is part of what he came to Earth to do. However, I do think he got tired, I think sometimes his throat must have been sore from all the talking, his legs ached from standing for hours, I'm sure he must have got headaches.

Jesus experienced all the things we experience when lots of demands are made on us and our time. These times of withdrawal were life giving, spending time with his Father in heaven was the ultimate act of self-care. Jesus knew he had to ask God his Father for his daily bread just as much as we do. I wonder how many demands on us and our time we have just accepted instead of giving ourselves space to withdraw and be with our Father who loves us more than we can fully comprehend. Our Father knows our every need and wants to meet us exactly where we are at.

I wonder what would happen if we reframed withdrawing to a lonely or solitary place to meet with our loving heavenly Father as the ultimate act of self-care. Instead of depriving us, it is in fact the place we are refilled and our needs met in a way that no human could possibly ever do.

Prayer

Father God would you help us withdraw to quiet places with you. Thank you that as we go to lonely places that does not mean we are alone because you are always there. Please would you help guide us to yourself when we feel overwhelmed and run down by life. I thank you that you are the well that never runs dry, would you refill and strengthen and encourage us by your Spirit. I pray our times of daily prayer would become as essential as physical food. Would you help us to see going to a solitary place to be with you the way Jesus saw it. Amen.

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