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Lectio > Matthew 14 > solitude

July 31, 2011

“As soon as the meal was finished, he (Jesus) insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.” (Matthew 14.22-23, The Message)

I’ve been wondering lately what Jesus’ interior life was like. What did he pray about? What did he do while he was alone? What was on his mind during that time?

We have a great record of what he taught and we know that when he wasn’t teaching the crowds he was teaching and training his closest 12 disciples. We also know that when he was not doing either of those things he was typically alone, praying. But the details into what that time alone was about are scarce at best.

In some ways the take away from that could be that we’re all to develop a secret life alone with God. Of course we are to have a communal life with him as well. The fellowship of believers – both earth-alive and beyond the veil – is a powerful and important part of our coming to know and love God. But there’s a hidden life as well. A conversation that we develop over months and year’s of knowing God and being known by God.

So I know what my experience of God is like in that private conversation that we have been having for a number of year’s now and I hope you do too. But I’m wondering what Jesus’ was like and if there’s things we can learn from his personal relationship with God.

For starters we know that he had to work to get time alone! It often involved climbing a mountain or waiting until late at night. We know there were times when he was alone and then got found by his disciples (see Mark 1) possibly before he was ready to end that solitude. Solitude didn’t come easy to him and it won’t likely come easy to us. We will need to set aside time and guard that time so that we can really be “alone with God.” We may (like Jesus) have to insist that others go on without us and that we’ll catch up with them later. We may have to disperse (or avoid all together!) the crowds that we can so easily get swept up by. We may even have to set boundaries with those who “need” our attention and lovingly entrust them into God’s care so we can get our needs met by him as well. And a large part of our neediness can be cared for in solitude, time alone to share our desires and dreams, our pains and struggles, our insights and questions and listen in an unhurried, un-harried way for God’s response. And the conversation, – necessarily interrupted by the demands of our days – can be picked back up in a more focused, deliberate way.

Its like 2 parents trying to talk while making dinner for the kids and getting interrupted by real and perceived needs then later realize they never really talked… never really got anywhere because of all the interruptions. Yet when they have some distance and time alone a focused conversation for just a few minutes can take them very far down the path of resolving an issue or making an important decision.

What is your practice of solitude? How has it deepened your conversation with God?

+++ Lord Jesus, we may never know what you and your Father processed in those times of solitude but we do know that you took the time and effort to be alone with your Father, speaking to him and listening to him, giving and receiving. Please help us to have that conversational relationship with him as well. Please teach us to process our hearts in his presence and receive from him what we need to do his will to steward the little patch of earth we inhabit and love those near us each day. Amen. +++

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2011 12:29 pm

    Some good words on solitude, Kevin. Thanks.

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  1. Meditatio, August 1,2011 | Angelnvj1287's Lectio Blog

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