Time Alone with Jesus
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. — Luke 5:16
Often when I am under stress and pressure, I feel one of my greatest needs is to get a good night’s sleep. But I’ve found that physical rest alone is not enough to revive my flagging spirit. I need the spiritual revival that comes from spending quiet time alone with Jesus in prayer and in thoughtful meditation on His Word.
A careful study of the life of Jesus reveals that as pressed as He was, He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” If Jesus felt He needed time alone in prayer with His Father, why do you and I think we can get by without it? How is your prayer life? Could some of the exhaustion you are feeling be the result of simple prayerlessness? How motivating it has been for me to view my early-morning devotions as times of retreat alone with Jesus, who desires that I come with Him by myself to a quiet place to pray, read His Word, listen for His voice, and be renewed in my spirit.
“God Says So” Prayers
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” — John 15:7 NKJV
Prayer is a conversation. We speak to God in prayer, then listen attentively as He speaks to us through His Word. Do you think the promise that Jesus gave His disciples was like handing them a divine genie in a bottle? And that if they would just rub the bottle with enough faith, the genie would pop out and grant them their “wishes”? As ludicrous as that is, it actually is the way some people view prayer. And when the genie doesn’t pop out of the bottle, they become offended with God and resent Him for not being at their beck and call.
One major prerequisite to receiving answers to prayer is that our requests line up with God’s will. How will we know what God’s will is? By abiding consistently in His Word. Instead of basing our prayers on “I hope so,” our prayers are based on “God says so.” And if we are saturating ourselves in His Word, then His desires will be ours.
A Greater Miracle
“Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” — John 11:14–15
Jesus was glad Lazarus had died without Him? What does that mean? We know it doesn’t mean He enjoyed knowing that Lazarus had died or that He enjoyed thinking about the family’s grief and despair.
Jesus was teaching His disciples — and you and me — a life lesson: there is a greater miracle than physical healing! It’s the miracle of the Resurrection! Be encouraged!
Even if your prayer is not answered, and your loved one is not healed, and your marriage is not reconciled, and your financial problems are not solved — there is hope!
Jesus was glad because He knew God would be glorified to a far greater extent by the death and resurrection of Lazarus than He would have been by Lazarus’s healing and recovery from sickness.
Would you rejoice with Jesus for the greater miracle that is coming to you?
Excerpted with permission from Joy of My Heart by Anne Graham Lotz, copyright Anne Graham Lotz.
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How is your pursuit of God going lately? How is it really going? Has prayer been harder through this season, or have you looked this year’s challenges in the eye used it as momentum for a growing and healthy prayer life? We’d love to hear from you! Come share on our blog.