Spiritual Discipline 101: Solitude
Solitude is defined as the state of being alone. Throughout the Gospels, we witness Jesus practicing this spiritual discipline as he frequently took time to be alone with the Father in private fellowship. During those times, he consistently communed with the father through prayer and fasting (two other spiritual disciplines we have already discussed in previous blog posts this year).
By Jesus’ example, we understand the purpose of practicing solitude is to cultivate an intimate relationship with God. Just as we experience and know God distinctly through other spiritual disciplines, solitude offers us the opportunity to encounter God in a different form of worship that likewise produces its unique blessings and benefits in our personal relationship with the Lord.
Another aspect I find interesting about Jesus’ time of solitude is how miracles often manifested after He shared time alone with God. Think about Matthew 14: 19-23. We observe how Jesus fed multitudes with only two fish and five loaves of bread. He then goes away to be with God in a time of solitude and comes back to perform another miracle, this time walking on water.
When we stop to consider, at every turn and point of major moments in Jesus’ life he modeled for us how to retreat in solitude. Before beginning his earthly ministry and after being baptized, Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and night. He fasted and sustained temptation from the devil by declaring the Word of God in this time of solitude (see Luke chapter 4). Even before being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was in solitude with God prior to the events leading to his crucifixion. (see Luke chapter 22).
Jesus also practiced solitude when processing grief (see Matthew chapter 14) and even to teach the importance of rest (see Mark chapter 6). At the point of choosing his twelve disciples, Jesus faced this task by spending time alone with God in prayer (see Luke chapter 6). Even just to emphasize the importance of prayer alone, Jesus practiced solitude as part of His lifestyle. If Jesus, the Son of God, maintained his devotion to the Father by deliberately giving Himself to the practice of solitude, then how much more should you and I?
Maybe you are not in a position or place where you can go away somewhere to be all alone. I invite you to pray about your desire to experience solitude with God, and watch Him orchestrate your affairs to make it all come together. You’d be surprised how creativity and inspiration will move in your favor so that you can carve out that space your spirit and soul longs for in the presence of God alone.
This moth, I leave you with ten benefits of practicing the spiritual discipline of solitude. My prayer for you is to find a way, even if you have to plan for it – a few times a year or a few hours in a day – but prioritize fitting solitude in as part of your lifestyle of worship to God. It will be one of the best gifts you experience in your personal time of devotion with our Father.
!0 Benefits You Get When Practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Solitude:
You get to be alone with God.
You get to be away from people.
You get a spiritual detox and decluttering from the culture around us.
You get insight about your current spiritual condition.
You get recharged through spiritual cleansing.
You get revelation and instructions about God’s will.
You get to rest your body.
You get renewed emotional and mental health.
You get to appreciate silence and sound in God’s presence.
You get to slow down your rhythm and enjoy giving attention to and getting attention from the Father.