Praying in Desolate Places
Sharon W. Betters
But He would withdraw to desolate places and pray (Luke 5:16, ESV).
How was your week? What does next week look like? Are people pressing in on you to meet their needs? Did your boss task you with a project that should have been completed yesterday? Do you have sick children or an unhappy husband looking to you to satisfy needs only the Lord can meet? Are you weary, wishing you could run away?
Read Today’s Treasure again. Jesus once more gives us a map to follow when life crashes in and we have little to give for valid needs and responsibilities. Luke has just described a typical day for Jesus, filled with constant pouring out of every drop of energy. Stories of Jesus’ healing power drew great crowds who gathered to hear Him and be healed. What was Jesus’ response to the enormous needs?
Jesus would withdraw to desolate places and pray (Luke 5:16, ESV).
Other translations say that Jesus often withdrew to pray. Jesus’ prayer life mystified His disciples. The excitement of success and the attention of the crowds energized them. They encouraged Jesus to keep on giving and giving and giving. Instead, Jesus slipped away to spend time with His Father. After spending quality time talking to and listening to His Father, Jesus returned to the noisy, grabbing crowds, renewed in His mission, ready to once more attend to the tasks assigned to Him by His Father.
Dear friend, if life overwhelms you today, if you are weary, longing for some personal refreshment, accept this priceless gift from our Father and do what Jesus did. Slip away to a private place to pray. If you only have a few minutes, ask the Lord to open your heart to His Word. Review this description of Jesus’ auto-response to the pressing needs of people:
While he was in one of the cities, there came a man full of leprosy. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, “Lord, if You will, You can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him. And He charged him to tell no one, but “go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 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 5:12-16, ESV).
Imagine the very Son of God needing and longing to spend time with His Father. Read Psalm 116 or any other Psalm with a listening heart. Read it out loud, thoughtfully, with the goal of finding one verse that has personal meaning for you. Write the verse in your journal, and carry the encouragement you received from this verse with you, to reflect on throughout this day. If possible, schedule a block of time to go off by yourself, to a park, a library, or the favorite room in your home. Pour out your emotions and need to your Father, spend time reading His Word, take time to soak in His presence.
In prayer, describe how you feel, why you feel overwhelmed, and ask the Lord to give you His peace and wisdom to know how to respond to the pressures of the day.
Though you may feel you are too busy with all of life’s obligations, commit to joining other believers for worship on Sunday, asking the Lord to speak His calming truths into your weary soul.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sharon W. Betters is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, pastor’s wife, and cofounder of MARKINC Ministries, where she is the Director of Resource Development. Sharon is the author of several books, including Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness, and co-author with Susan Hunt of Aging with Grace. She is the co-host of the Help & Hope podcast and writes Daily Treasure, an online devotional.
For more from Daily Treasure please visit MARKINC.ORG.