Devotion: Retreat

“But now more than ever the word about Jesus spread abroad; many
crowds would gather to hear him and be cured of their diseases. Jesus
often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

This past weekend I went on a ministers' retreat with 5 of my minister
friends. During an hour long drive into the mountains of Washington
State, the leader of the weekend kept talking about our “first
activity.” As we drove up the mountain, we passed by a ski resort,
saw a man hanggliding, and noticed a snowmobile trail. With each one,
we would hoot and hollar hoping that was going to be our “first
activity.” When we arrived at our destination, however, our trip
leader informed us that the first activity would be an hour and half
silent retreat.

It was a strange feeling, because we had just gathered as a group for
the first time in a year and there was much to talk about—we were in a
beautiful area of the country and there was much to do. However, our
group leader knew what was more important—a time for us to follow the
model of Christ and withdraw into a lonely place and pray. It set the
tone for the weekend.

I find these two verses in Luke to be an interesting look into Jesus'
personality. As word spread about Jesus, he withdrew. As crowds
gathered, he went into isolation. As people wanted to hear him talk,
he went away to pray. Jesus understood that popularity and accolades
do not sustain. At the height of his ministry, he humbled himself and
prayed. He did not wait for the bad stuff to happen to him.

When are times that you needed to retreat to a lonely place and pray?
Was it when life was on the upswing or down? How might you carve a
few minutes out of your day and withdraw to a lonely place and pray?

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