We had a great time at church last week talking about prayer. As an adjunct to that, I’d like you consider something that can really help your prayer life.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently six billion, eight hundred twenty one million, eight hundred ninety six thousand seventeen souls running all over our planet as of 7:30 a.m. this morning. No wonder I have a hard time getting a table at Olive Garden. The traffic on our roads is getting almost beyond my limits, and the lines at the grocery store (or heaven help me if I have to go to Wal- Mart) are just ridiculous. People are everywhere I go. But wait a minute. According to Wikipedia, there are about 197,000,000 square miles of earth (only about 57,000,000 of it is land, but that’s not my point). There are lots and lots of open spaces still left on this earth. Why you can actually get in a boat off the coast of Georgia, ride for about 15 minutes out to sea, and not be able to lay your eyes on another person. Or you can take a walk in the pine woods west of Brunswick and not be seen by anyone all day.
So why don’t you? Go off on your own occasionally I mean. There is plenty of room for you to do that, in spite of the world population! Why in the world would I do that? To think. To rest. To organize your thoughts. To examine your heart. To pray. Those are some pretty good reasons. Or you could do it — just because it is what Jesus did:
Mark 1:35-37 (NIV): Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon, and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"
Luke 5:15-16 (NIV): Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Sometimes when Jay and I get together and we don’t really have a topic of conversation, he will ask me, "So what’s the condition of your heart today?" It shouldn’t, but it almost always catches me off guard. Sometimes my heart is hurting, sometimes it is happy, and sometimes it is a bit hard, but it always feels good to stop and consider it. You need to clear your head and your thoughts periodically, and then examine your heart. I read once that a pure heart is a clean heart, and to clean your heart, sometimes you must cut away unnecessary things and quiet the noise. Being alone has a way of allowing you to hear your own heart and examine what is in there. God will show up to help, if you truly seek it.
If you do go off alone for a while, chances are that someone will start missing you. When you return, you’ll have a smile on your face. If they ask you where you were — tell them. "God and I were working on my heart". It’s a great conversation starter, I promise.
Enjoy some time alone this week. Let me know what God tells you!