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Perfect Solitude: Following in Our Master’s Steps

Jesus Footsteps
Prayer is one of the most noted characteristics of Jesus’ life.

Prayer marked His beginning — at His baptism it was “while He prayed” that “heaven opened” and the Holy Spirit descended (Lu.3:21-22). And prayer marked the end as well: As He took His final breaths in flesh, Jesus continued praying (Mt. 27:46; Lu 23:34,36).

Prayer was a constant throughout his ministry. As the Gospels tell us, He often withdrew to mountains or to solitary places to pray.

Mark tells us that at sundown one evening, the whole city gathered at His door. They brought Him all who were sick or oppressed, and He healed many. What did He do afterward? “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35, ESV).

Luke tells us that He did not choose His disciples until He had spent the night in prayer: “He went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God. When daylight came, He summoned His disciples, and He chose twelve of them” (Luke 6:12-13, HCSB).

Himself Alone: The Need for Perfect Solitude

In The Inner Chamber and The Inner Life, Andrew Murray expands on two words from John 6:15:

“When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone.”
John 6:15

The man Christ Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude. Let us humbly seek to find out what this means.

HIMSELF ALONE. Entirely by Himself, alone with Himself.

We know how much intercourse with men draws us away from ourselves and exhausts our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this too, and felt the need of coming to Himself again, of gathering all His powers of renewing the consciousness of what He was and what He needed, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more does the child of God need this…. There is ever an urgent call to every believer to follow in His Master’s steps, and find the place and the time where he can indeed be with himself alone.

HIMSELF ALONE, with God the Father.

If ever there were a man who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our blessed Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, without His quiet time. He felt the need as man of bringing all His work, past and future, and putting it before the Father, of renewing His sense of absolute dependence on the Father’s power, and absolute confidence in the Father’s love, in seasons of special fellowship. When He said: “the Son can do nothing of Himself,” “as I hear so I speak” He was but expressing the simple truth of His relation to God; it was this that made His going apart a necessity and an unspeakable joy.

Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed—himself alone with God. Oh! the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself.

HIMSELF ALONE, with the Word.

As man our Lord had to learn God’s Word as a child; during the long years of His life in Nazareth, He fed on that Word and made it His own. In His solitude He conferred with the Father on all that that Word spoke of Him, on all the will of God it revealed for Him to do.

In the life of the Christian, it is one of the deepest lessons that he has to learn, that the Word without the living God avails little; that the blessing of the Word comes when it brings us to the living God; that the Word that we get from the mouth of God brings the power to know it and to do it. Let us learn the lesson: personal fellowship with God in secret alone can make the word to be life and power.

HIMSELF ALONE, in prayer.

What an unspeakable privilege prayer is as it allows a man to lay open his whole life to God, and to ask for His teaching and His strength. Just try for a moment to think what prayer meant to Jesus, what adoring worship, what humble love, what child-like pleading for all He needed.

As little as we can conceive of this aright, can we realize what blessedness awaits the man who knows to follow in Christ’s steps, and to prove what the utmost is that God can do to one who makes this his chief joy—to be with Him, Himself alone.

HIMSELF ALONE.

How deep the words open up to us the secret of the life of Christ on earth, and of the life that He now lives in us. Of the life that He lives in us by His Holy Spirit, this is one of the most blessed elements, that He reveals and imparts to us all that the Word means—Himself alone.1

A Prayer

Father, help us depart again to a place of prayer, ourselves alone in solitude—alone with You … alone with the Word … alone in prayer … ourselves alone.

Father, help us to get alone in perfect solitude. Our interaction with people and the distractions of life have left us drained. Jesus knew what do to do when He was drained. The prescription for Him is the same for us — to get alone with You in perfect solitude, to remember what You have called us to be and do, to remember what is most important to You, to realize fully our high destiny in You, and to acknowledge our human weakness and our entire dependence on You.

This what we need. So help get away from all the temporal distractions and see our lives through Your eyes. Help us draw aside with You and turn off work, and the phone, and web browsing, and social media, and television, and entertainment. As we come to You in prayer in this way, we’ll experience the aligning benefit of perfect solitude, of being with ourselves alone.

Father, help us to get alone with You. Like Jesus, we can do nothing of ourselves and can only speak and do what You do through us. So may our private practice of prayer bear this out. May we see that pulling aside with You is not only an indispensable necessity, it’s an unspeakable joy. May we cherish the thought of having You all to ourselves and knowing that You have us all to Yourself.

Father, help us get alone with Your Word. May Your Word draw us to You in the secret place. And there, may our personal fellowship with You cause us to experience the Word’s life and power.

Father, help us get alone in prayer. Give us a glimpse of what prayer meant to Jesus—“what adoring worship, what humble love, what child-like pleading for all He needed.” Help us begin to see what blessedness awaits the person who follows in Christ’s steps. May our lives demonstrate what You can and will do for the one who makes it his or her chief joy to be with You, himself alone, herself alone.

Father, show us the secret of the life of Christ on earth, and of the life that He now lives in us—the secret of being alone with You in prayer. And help us to shut ourselves up with You in prayer today, tomorrow, throughout the fast, and continuing every day the rest of this year.

In Jesus’ name we pray. So be it.

TweetablesTweetables

  • “Jesus often withdrew to mountains or to solitary places to pray. He felt the need of perfect solitude, and as Andrew Murray states, so should we.  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art… this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed—himself alone with God. — Andrew Murray #prayer Click to tweet Tweet
  • “What an unspeakable privilege prayer is as it allows a man to lay open his whole life to God, and to ask for His teaching and His strength.” — Andrew Murray  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “Oh! the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself.” — Andrew Murray #prayer  Click to tweet Tweet
  • “Just try for a moment to think what #prayer meant to Jesus, what adoring worship, what humble love, what child-like pleading for all He needed…What blessedness awaits the man who knows to follow in Christ’s steps…” — Andrew Murray Click to tweet Tweet

Questions:

  • Are you drained—by being with people … by life’s busyness … by the distraction of 24/7 media … by nonstop interaction … by stress … by life’s demands? Are you doing what Jesus did and drawing aside to perfect solitude? Are you spending time remembering what God has called you to be and do? Time acknowledging your human weakness and your entire dependence on God? 
  • Does your private practice of prayer demonstrate that you believe, like Jesus, that you can do nothing of yourself and can only speak and do what the Father does through You? Do you consider it an indispensable necessity to wait upon Him alone in prayer? 
  • Do you cherish the thought of having God all to yourself and Him having you all to Himself?
  • Are you allowing the Word to draw you to God in prayer? There in prayer, is your fellowship with God resulting in you experiencing the Word’s life and power?
  • Have you glimpsed what prayer meant to Jesus? Have you begun to see what blessedness awaits the person who follows in Christ’s steps in prayer? If not, will you ask God for this?
  • Do you want your life to demonstrate the most of what God can and will do for the one who makes it his or her chief joy to be with God himself alone, herself alone?

 

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FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES

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  1. Murray, Andrew. The Inner Chamber And The Inner Life (pp. 114-117). Heritage Bible Fellowship. Kindle Edition.


 


 

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