I know it’s February. It’s not exactly the time, for most of us, to be thinking about longer days and how to spend them. (But I think about it anyway!) Do we stay around town or do we get away somewhere? Do we want a full-fledged vacation, or do we just need a break?
I believe the idea of “just needing a break” resonates with many, if not all, of us. I think we all occasionally long for a time to just be off…to relax and think and reflect. I’ve been reading lately about being mindful and how to create good habits. But, without time to sit and think about where I am and where I’m going, it’s all kind of just busy work!
This all makes me think about Jesus getting away. Scripture records instances when Jesus just needed to take a break. But we see it wasn’t selfish time. Jesus didn’t just go away and binge-watch Netflix, so to speak. Searching through the gospels, we find many instances of Jesus going away — sometimes early in the morning, sometimes overnight — to meditate, to prepare, and to pray.
Led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Jesus was alone for forty days, except for when the Devil came to tempt Him (Matthew 4:1–11).
“After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.” (Matt 14:23 — CSB).
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.” (Mark 1:35).
“When it was day, he went out and made his way to a deserted place.” (Luke 4:42).
This was our Savior’s habit. He made sure He had time alone with His thoughts…and with His Father! He too just needed a break to get away, to recharge and to refocus.
When life’s schedule is as crushing as we tend to allow it to get, setting aside time for prayer feels counterintuitive. Surely diving into the to-do list of the day will bring more progress than stopping for prayer!
Jesus understood the pressure of time. His time was limited. There were so many people who needed truth, forgiveness, and healing. His apostles needed to be mentored. His Father’s plan needed to be carried out. Yet He made prayer a priority.
As busy as I might allow my life to get, I’ll never carry the burden Jesus did. He came to deliver the entire human race. Yet instead of frenzied urgency, He consistently modeled a life of prayer, of retreat, of seeking solitude. The consistent example of Jesus ought to inspire us to find our own solitary space and time each day to just take a break, to get away from it all, and spend time in prayer.