Monday, April 4, 2011

A Personal Prayer Retreat

“Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) We are not told how often “often” was, or for how long it lasted. No doubt Jesus spent time in prayer daily, but it seems He also perceived a personal need to get away to places where there were no people, so that He could pray for an extended time. “Often” could have been once a week or maybe once a month, but it was at least frequent enough that it made an impression on the disciples of “often.” Why deserted places? Well, all day, every day, Jesus was swarmed by people, all with some kind of need. Some needed to hear Him teach. Some needed to be healed. Some needed to be released from demon possession. The constant flow of giving time, energy, attention, and service, even for the most extroverted among us, would first of all leave someone with a feeling of being depleted, and it would also, by its very nature, create an inner need to spend some extended time with God. This would required significant amounts of uninterrupted time. Before choosing the twelve, for example, Jesus went up a mountain and prayed all through the night. Maybe a personal prayer retreat is something we might find helpful. In today’s pace, some of us may feel that there is never a good time for a personal prayer retreat. We may not be able to go up a mountain or out into the desert, but maybe there is a park, or a place at home where we can get off to ourselves to pray. Church worship centers are rarely in use most week days. The point is that, if we look, we can probably find a place where we can take at least a brief personal prayer retreat, some place we can go to “often.” Consider a personal prayer retreat for your life. You may find that it is just the thing you need. Father, Help us each to commune with You on a daily basis, and help us also to find or make the time for a personal prayer retreat. Amen.

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