For almost forty years the Center for Renewal has been a place where people from all walks of life have come to be renewed and refreshed by the presence of Jesus. I was talking with a pastor just last week who told me how, when his inner city ministry was just starting 40 years ago, he would drive out here to be quiet and sit at Jesus’ feet.
Over the years, we have encouraged pastors and lay people to follow Jesus’ model of getting away from the ministry and spending time alone with their Heavenly Father. Every gospel gives us a glimpse of Jesus’ prayer life.
Matthew 14 13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself;
Matthew 14 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
Mark 6 45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. 47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land.
Luke 918 And it happened that while He was praying alone,
John 615 So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.
In Luke 22:39, we even see that this pattern of getting away to pray was habitual:
39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives;
Recently I saw something about Jesus that I had missed. Many times that Jesus went alone to pray, he took His disciples with Him.
Mark 3 7 Jesus withdrew to the sea with His disciples
Luke 9 10 When the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. Taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida.
Luke 9 18 And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him
Luke 9 28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.
Luke 22 39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.
I realized that, over the years, I have made it my custom and my habit to get away to a secluded place; to be alone with Jesus; to sit at His feet; to listen. But I have not taken others with me. May the Lord grant us clarity as to whom He is calling us to mentor in this way.
This past summer I have begun doing this with one man. What about you? What would it look like for you to bring someone with you on a day of quiet and solitude.