“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35 (KJV)
Oh, how I love to read that verse!! I could never put into words the way it moves me…compels me to want to get alone with God in a solitary place and pray! Don’t you wish you could have been there with Him? Wouldn’t you love to know what He said in that early morning prayer? What was He asking of His Father? Or was He asking at all? Maybe He was praising Him and telling Him how much He missed being with Him in Heaven. I can only speculate, because the Bible is silent on the content of most of Jesus’ prayers. I love reading John 17 where it gives very specific details of one of His openly spoken prayers…for Himself, for His disciples, and thank God, for us. But, it has occurred to me that there may have been another reason for Jesus’ prayer on that early morning in a solitary place.
I’ve had some solitary places of my own through the years….alone with God. They have been some of the most precious times of communion with my Heavenly Father. One of my favorite memories of such a place is being on a beach in
I was in my late teens, and I used to go there alone late in the evenings and sit on a boulder overlooking the Naples, FL. Gulf of Mexico. I loved to get there in time to watch the sunset over the water…the scene was breathtaking, the presence of God so real. Another favorite “alone with God” spot for me is in the mountains of WV behind my in-laws’ home. Early in our marriage, Kevin and I used to ride the 4-wheeler back to an isolated spot…he to look for deer, me to pray. He would drop me off at this one place…I can still see it. It is a wide-open spot in a valley at the foot of a mountain with plenty of trees distantly surrounding. It is remote, so I could just pray and pour my heart out to God without anyone hearing me. What a sweet memory! After a period of time, Kevin would ride up on the 4-wheeler and off we would head back to the house. I think he took extra long sometimes, just because he hated to interrupt my worship and reverence.
These days, my solitary place is usually inside our home…many times in the recliner in our living room. I have prayed many prayers from that chair! There are times I am praising Him, times I am crying uncontrollably, moments of sincere worship, and then there are times that I stop and beg Him to talk to me. We all need two-way communication with God. So many times, we miss the most important part because we leave our knees or our place of prayer too soon. We want to do all of the talking, and most of our talking is asking. He has things He wants to say to us.
We love to find good books to read during our family worship times. God has led us to some that all three of us have enjoyed immensely. Recently, I found one at a thrift store that looked like it would be a good one to enhance our family devotions. The author is very well-known, and we have read some of their work before and enjoyed it. We read the first chapter and found it to be somewhat interesting, but lacking what we were really looking for. We thought we would give it a second chance and started into the second chapter, only to be even more disappointed. The author, whom I do not wish to name, went into great detail on how they do not believe God speaks to people today. How the only way we can hear anything from Him is through the written Word of God. It frustrated me so much; I ended up throwing the book in the trash! I do not wish to dispute anyone’s ideas or debate their philosophy, but I beg to differ with this person. Why? Because I personally know God speaks to us. That “voice” has directed and guided and kept me on the straight and narrow for over 30 years of my life. How anyone who has a personal, up-to-date walk with Christ could make such an erroneous statement is beyond my comprehension!
God doesn’t speak to me in an audible voice. There are no shining lights around me with vocal confirmations from Heaven. There have been times I have longed for that! Times that I have been so uncertain, I wished for God’s audible voice to thunder from Heaven to tell me what I should do. But, He speaks to me in the deep recesses of my soul….in that still small voice. That inner Monitor that says, “You’re drifting too far from Me”, and “Don’t make that choice”, and “This path will lead you to Heaven, not that one.” It is the voice of His precious Spirit. Jesus told His disciples in John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Notice it says, “whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak”. The Spirit of God speaks to us, guiding us into all truth.
The problem is, we live in a noisy world. I have never before seen a time that people are so engaged. Always texting, talking, listening, watching. We don’t make the effort to do what it takes to hear God’s voice. How can we hear Him when we bombard our ears, eyes, and minds with constant stimulation? He would HAVE to thunder from Heaven to overpower all of the noise in our lives! And I personally have not found that to be His modern-day method.
So, I wonder if the reason Jesus got up so early in the morning and found a completely solitary place to pray is that He wanted to HEAR His Father’s voice. This is just my supposition, but I just wonder if it could be true. Think of it. He had constant activity from the time people got up in the morning until they finally went to bed at night. They were constantly asking of Him, pulling at Him, wanting to hear Him talk, constantly vying for His attention. Perhaps He was going to have a particularly hectic day, and He knew He wouldn’t be able to break away and commune with His Father? So, He went out early….while it was still…when it was quiet….before everyone else was awake with their constant needs and demands of Him. And He prayed. Maybe it was God doing most of the talking…we have no way of knowing.
One thing I do know and have learned from personal experience…we all need to take that special time to be alone with Him each day. It will take some effort. We will have to turn everything off, make ourselves unavailable, find a place alone that is quiet and uninterrupted, and get still and calm before Him. There have been times in my life that I have felt the need so strongly to pray that I have asked my family to please allow me to get off somewhere alone. They respect that and know that I can not be interrupted when I am in such a state. I NEED to talk to God, and I desperately NEED to hear His voice….every, single day. And I'll do whatever I need to do to make it happen...even if I have to "rise up a great while before day". Will you? You won't regret it...I promise.