“And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.”
Jesus came to this earth to help people. He came to seek and to save the lost and to give His life as a ransom for many. We would say that He was in the “people business.” He healed the multitudes and taught the masses the Word of God, and He also gave individuals His undivided attention. Sometimes He would spend special times of instruction with His closest followers. He was available at virtually all times to tend to the needs of hurting humanity.
Was there ever a time when He was not available to the people? The answer is found in our text. There were times when our Savior would pull Himself away from the seemingly endless sea of people, that He might pray and spend time with His Heavenly Father. “He withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” If Jesus needed to withdraw Himself from others, seeking solitude for times of prayer and fellowship with the Father, what about you and me? Should we not also withdraw ourselves from time to time? If Jesus needed this season of prayer, we need it more.
There are any number of reasons we fail to make these times of devotion and prayer a priority. Perhaps our schedule gets overcrowded, or we wrongfully feel that we can manage without regular times of spiritual retreat, or other obligations and responsibilities cry out for our attention. Whatever the case, we need to make the necessary adjustments to provide time alone with the Lord.
We notice in the language of Scripture that Jesus “withdrew himself.” He took responsibility and initiative. It was a decision that He made. The same is true for us; we have to withdraw ourselves. No one can make that decision for us. It is an activity that we have to treat as a priority. There were other things crying out for attention in Jesus’ world, but He chose to withdraw for some much needed time of prayer. We must do the same. There needs to be time set aside to be alone with the Lord. Ideally, we should try to reserve some time at the beginning and ending of each day to converse with our Father.
One “built in” weekly opportunity to withdraw ourselves is the Lord’s Day. Here is a day of rest from normal secular demands and a day of worship, study, and prayer. We must recognize the importance of such times and guard them; otherwise, they will be lost in other activity.