As we near the end of our week on seeking God, today we will focus on seeking God in solitude. Our world is a busy place. Our home lives are busy. Our church lives are full. When are you ever alone to simply fix your eyes on the Father, and be uninterrupted by the things going on around you? If we will take up the discipline of solitude, our lives will look very different. Imagine for a second the inner peace and sanity you could gain if you set aside consistent time to seek God in solitude. May you be encouraged to do just that as you experience the nearness of Jesus today.
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” MATTHEW 14:23
The Secret Place | Phil Wickham
Our world is filled with hustle and bustle. We reward busyness as if always working, striving, and achieving were the true marks of a life well-lived. We elevate those who have given everything to gain success. To be tired is to be weak. To be in need is to fail. To rest instead of work is to be lazy or selfish. As believers, we’re living in a society whose values do not match that of our heavenly Father’s. We need an adjustment of perspective.
We are created for time spent alone with our heavenly Father, away from the cares and ways of the world. We are created to seek God in solitude. Jesus modeled this important principle throughout his ministry. Luke 5:15-16 says, “But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Mark 1:35 says, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” And Matthew 14:23 says, “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” If Jesus needed time alone with the Father, you and I most certainly do.
Solitude is vital in our pursuit of deeper relationship with our heavenly Father. What would a marriage be if the couple only ever saw each other in large groups? What would a friendship be if you never spent time as just the two of you? Yet countless believers, Sunday after Sunday, file through church doors to meet with a God they are not encountering in the secret place. Our heavenly Father loves corporate worship to be sure, but community is intended to be an extension of the love and transformation we are receiving in solitude with God. Matthew 6:6 says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” It’s in the secret place that we learn what our Father is really like. It’s in the secret place that we discern what his voice sounds like, find his heartbeat, and become like him.
Without solitude our faith will not stretch into the inner places of our hearts that so desperately need to be flooded with the light of glorious relationship with our heavenly Father. If you long to be loved, it’s in the secret place you’ll discover the wellspring of affections found in the heart of God. If you need someone to listen, it’s in solitude you’ll discover the always listening ear of your heavenly Father. And if you need a friend, it’s in time spent alone fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit that you will find a friend who will never leave you, forsake you, hurt you, or mislead you.
May you discover what you’ve been longing for in the secret place with God. May you pursue deeper connection with your heavenly Father through the wonderful discipline of solitude.
1. Meditate on God’s desire to meet with you in the secret place.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
2. Reflect on your need for solitude. If Jesus needed time with the Father, receive the truth that you need it as well.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Luke 5:15-16
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” Matthew 14:23
3. Spend time alone pursuing God in solitude. Allow the silence to draw you into a deeper place of reflection. What has been hurting you? Where do you need your heavenly Father’s affections?
“But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” Galatians 1:15-17
St. Anselm of Canterbury wrote, “Enter into the inner chamber of your mind. Shut out all things save God and whatever may aid you in seeking God; and having barred the door of your chamber, seek him.” May you find the everlasting love of God as you seek him in solitude.
Extended Reading: Matthew 4 or watch The Bible Project’s video on Matthew 1-13.