After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23)
Jesus knew the power for ministry that comes from time spent alone with his Father. He withdrew to a quiet place on a regular basis. His confidence in public was a direct result of his moments of prayer and solitude. He was busy but never in a hurry; he was tired but never grumpy; in the midst of the wildest storms he had peace and confidence; in moments of lack he knew of the resources that never run out. He found strength in solitude.
We all need times of solitude. We need safe places where we are alone with God, where we can lay down our burdens and take off our masks.
Richard Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline talks about how Jesus calls us from loneliness to solitude. He writes:
‘Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment. Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place. There is a solitude of the heart that can be maintained at all times. If we possess inward solitude we do not fear being alone, for we know that we are not alone. Neither do we fear being with others, for they do not control us. In the midst of noise and confusion we are settled into a deep inner silence. Whether alone or among people, we always carry with us a portable sanctuary of the soul.’
I know for some of us it is hard to find the space to be alone, but as Richard Foster says it is more a state of mind and heart than a place. Allow God to build in you a portable sanctuary of the soul. Allow him to build strength in solitude in you.
Joanna has a passion for mentoring female leaders to become mentors for a new generation. She is a founding director of One Rock, a board member of Renovare UK, and an associate lecturer at Oasis College. In her spare time she loves taking photographs of nature, and playing with her cat Chester.