Weekly Blog: Prayer in Lonely Places
May 15, 2017 2958
I never really knew what prayer was, or even how to pray. I thought it was something very solemn that you did in church, or on your knees beside your bed. You had to do it in special ways so that God would listen, and use special words and language that he approved of. And after five minutes, I’d usually run out of things to say.
Now I know differently. Now I know that I can pray at any time, in any situation I’m in, and whatever else is happening around me. Now I know that God is listening to me all the time, and not just at special times. Often my prayers during the day will be as simple as, “Help me, Jesus!” That’s also how Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father while on earth.
However, Luke 15:16 (NIV) also says that,
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16, NIV).
So why did Jesus have to go to lonely places to pray, if you can pray at any time and in any place?
Prayer is Not Me Speaking to a Seemingly Silent God
It’s for the same reason why we all need a quiet place, away from the distractions of our everyday lives, to create space in our lives for communion with our Father in Heaven. It’s because although we can speak to God at any time, we need a quiet space to hear his voice.
I will often go for a long walk outside, typically along a quiet road or a peaceful in nature, where I can simply spend time with God. And sometimes I just sit on a rock or on the beach, or on a park bench, and pray. I simply couldn’t keep sane in this world, just praying and knowing that he hears me, but never hearing from him!
When I pray in this way, I am acknowledging that prayer is not just one way. It isn’t just me speaking to a seemingly silent God. I have discovered that God is desperately longing to speak to me in many different ways. That’s why prayer is also listening for the voice of God, allowing his heart to be revealed to me. Prayer is receiving his blessings.
Sometimes in prayer, there’s a profoundly deep sense of peace and joy, even in the middle of my biggest troubles. Sometimes I am filled with a firm sense of affirmation in my faith, or of conviction in my duty. And on some rarer occasions, when God wishes, at times he encourages me or tells me what I should do; in an almost audible way in my mind.
Our Heavenly Father has many ways of revealing himself to us, and he communicates in different ways with different people. No one way is better. However, I believe it is vital for every child of God to create space in our lives for communion with our Heavenly Father. That’s why Jesus “withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
We all need a “lonely place” to pray: somewhere away from the stresses and commotion of life for communion with God, where we can meditate on his Word, and affirm our faith in him, and where our souls can be refreshed.
Here’s what I’ve discovered. That “lonely place” for prayer is never really lonely, because when you sense the presence of God, that’s when you most know that you are never alone.
So what’s your “lonely place?” You should visit it more often.
– Eliezer Gonzalez