Some of my most favorite moments in the entire Bible are when Jesus heads to the mountain to be alone. I can only imagine how powerful those moments were for Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus would take these moments to intentionally be alone so He could be refilled. This would happen for Him through prayer, and through the most overlooked spiritual discipline: solitude. Luke 5:16 tells us that Jesus would do this often, too. Why?
Beginning in Luke 5:12, we are taken through a passage where a man with leprosy fell on his face and begged Jesus to make him clean. Jesus, of course, met this man’s need:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, “Don’t tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 15:12-15 (NIV)
JESUS OFTEN WITHDREW
Now, check out verse 16: “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” As Jesus’ ministry progressed, the crowds increased and the demands seemingly never ended. Jesus had a full plate. As He constantly poured Himself out for others, He recognized and understood that it was also of great value and importance that He be filled Himself. This, so He could then again pour Himself back out for others.
Let’s read Matthew 14:23, where again, Jesus finds solitude:
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone…” (NIV)
Understand that this was right after Jesus had fed the five thousand. He was tired. On top of that, He knew of impending things to come, which would require more and more of Him. He took this time to listen to the Father and be spoken to; to be calmed, filled, and prepared for all that was ahead.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SOLITUDE
Finally, let’s look at Luke 6:12, and the significance of solitude here:
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” (NIV)
Again, Jesus got away. But what’s so cool about this passage is that immediately after this mountainside retreat, Jesus chose the twelve men who would follow and serve alongside Him in His earthly ministry: the twelve disciples. Talk about a BIG decision. Jesus knew the weight of this decision. So He practiced solitude, and allowed the Father to speak to Him through prayer, and bless Him with wisdom and discernment and preparation.
FIND YOUR MOUNTAIN
As we are constantly pouring into others—be it discipling, leading, serving, or constantly giving of ourselves, it is of vast spiritual importance that we find time to be filled. So find your mountain. Where can you get away and practice solitude with your heavenly Father? To hear His voice? To find rest? It is at our mountains where we find these things, and more. So, be challenged and encouraged to work on finding your mountain. And then, as Jesus did in Luke 5:16, get there as often as you can.