Journal Entry // March 11, 2021
But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.Luke 5:16 ESV
How often have I withdrawn from everything to pray? When I do attempt to withdraw for this purpose, I would say I am often easily distracted and focus my attention on other things and actually neglect prayer. But Jesus is modeling intentional times in his life and ministry where he withdraws from the crowds and the demands upon him to a desolate place with the express purpose of prayer and communion with God.
Similarly, he mentioned later in this chapter that his followers will fast. So there is an expectation that we should all be fasting and praying in the quiet spaces of our life and even making time to remove ourselves completely from distraction to more fully dedicate ourselves to seeking the presence of the Lord. I don’t think this has to be some grand and extravagant gesture encompassing multiple days, but can simply be small moments of the day or week where we withdraw. Where we purposefully leave the comfort of our daily routine or the comfort of our own rest and pleasure.
I have been thinking about this in terms of cultivating delight. Intentional times to read, reflect, and repent. Even though I have had a marked improvement in my daily communion with Christ, I feel as though it is becoming too comfortable and familiar. I am far too easily convinced that my “routine” is good enough. No, I would never really put it that way, but I can see it in my action and attitude. I move from a state of challenge in my faith to a comfortable pattern. There is nothing wrong with having this comfortable pattern and rhythm to daily discipline of the faith. I think it is necessary and good to have established rhythm of discipline that keeps me focused and grounded in God’s word. What I want to learn from this passage is that along with this rhythm, or maybe even incorporated into my rhythm, should be times of withdrawal with fasting and prayer.
As always it is a matter of my heart and mind… I need not only daily dedicated intentional times of being in the presence of the lord, but I need these special times of intense focus. Withdrawal allows me to really sit back and evaluate my life and faith without the hurry and worry of daily life. Time to give a deep honest review of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. A time to challenge my patterns. A time to rest.
This is definitely a challenge with all the responsibilities that surround life, but it is obviously important for faith.
I need to spend dedicated time reflecting on this and how to implement it into life. Between work and family and commitments, it all seems a bit difficult.