Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16
A River Runs Through It is Norman Maclean’s masterful story of two boys growing up in western Montana with their father, a Presbyterian minister. On Sunday mornings, Norman and his brother, Paul, went to church where they heard their father preach. Once Sunday evening rolled around, there was another service and their father would preach again. But between those two services, they were free to walk the hills and streams with him “while he unwound between services.” It was an intentional withdrawing on their father’s part to “restore his soul and be filled again to overflowing for the evening sermon.”
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is seen teaching multitudes on hillsides and cities, and healing the sick and diseased who were brought to Him. All this interaction was in line with the Son of Man’s mission “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). But it’s also noted that He “often withdrew to lonely places” (5:16). His time there was spent communing with the Father, being renewed and restored to step back once more into His mission.
In our faithful efforts to serve, it’s good for us to remember that Jesus often withdrew. If this practice was important for Jesus, how much more so for us? May we regularly spend time with our Father, who can fill us again to overflowing.
What comes to mind when you think of a “lonely” place? When and where can you withdraw to simply spend time with the Father?
Thank You for the reminder, Father, of my need for time spent with You. I need Your grace and strength to renew my often-weary soul.
To learn more about spending time with God in prayer, visit ChristianUniversity.org/SF120.
Due to His popularity, Jesus intentionally withdrew to “lonely places” to pray (Luke 5:16). This may be why He didn’t want the man healed of leprosy to tell anyone (v. 14). However, “the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came” (v. 15).
In the book of Luke we clearly see that Jesus’ time spent with His Father was a priority. He consistently went away to pray before major events such as when He chose the twelve apostles (6:12–16), before predicting His death (9:18), during the transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared to discuss Jesus’ departure (vv. 28–31), before His teaching on prayer (11:1), before His arrest (22:41), while being crucified (23:34), and just before He died (v. 46).