THE NEED TO WITHDRAW
In ministry, there is always something important to do.
The demands of our role as messengers of the gospel seems to be never-ending.
But Jesus provides us with an example of the right priorities when it comes to working for God and being with God: He said to them, “I must proclaim the good news about the kingdom of God to other towns also, because I was sent for this purpose.”
The news about Him spread even more, and large crowds would come together to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. Yet He often withdrew to deserted places and prayed (Luke 4:43, 5:15-16).
THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
It is not:
- To please God.
- To have a better day.
- Because you “ought to.”
- Because God will discipline you if you don’t.
- To learn more about God.
- To have something to share.
- To grow.
- To know God.
- To worship God.
- To experience His presence.
- “To be progressing in an intimate knowledge and experience of God’s person, presence and power” (John 17:3, Philippians 3:8-10, Deuteronomy 4:29).
THE RIGHT PLACE AND TIME
You need to be alone. Jesus often withdrew to be alone with God (Luke 6:12).
You need to be undistracted by people, noise, and interruptions. If possible, you may want to be somewhere that you can pray out loud, sing, etc. without being self-conscious.
SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT TO DO
Ask God to remove any hindrance to your fellowship with Him. Focus on the reality of His presence by reading through a passage such as Psalm 139 and then focus on cleansing passages like Psalm 139:23-24; Psalm 51; or Psalm 32.
Praise and thanksgiving – Praise God through Scripture passages like Psalm 103, 111, or 145 or Revelation 4 and 5. Or give praise and thanksgiving for specific things in your life.
- To speak and help you to hear.
- To reveal more of Himself to you.
- For the willingness to do what He shows you.
- For a disciplined, sharp mind.
- To minimize distractions.
- For a supernatural, excellent time of interaction with Him.
INSPIRATIONAL MEDITATION AND READING
Read an article or a chapter from an encouraging, faith-stimulating book (suggested reading on Cru.org: “Hearing the Music of the Gospel”, “Mission Impossible,” or Tim Keller’s “Prayer and the Gospel”).
If you keep a journal, read back over past weeks or months.
TIME IN THE WORD
Be relaxed, flexible, and not overly structured (maybe read some Psalms, then some Old Testament passages, then some from the life of Christ, then some from the Epistles, etc.).
Read and meditate with an attitude of prayer.
- Pray meaningful passages back to God.
- Pray about needs that the passages make you aware of.
- Thank God for time in His Word and what He’s shown you.
- Pray through some Scripture, songs or hymns.
- Catch up on requests you haven’t had time to pray for lately. Pray some of Paul’s prayers for other people (e.g. Philippians 1, Colossians 1 or 3, Ephesians 1 or 3, and others).
- Ask God
- To show you what He wants you to believe Him for.
- To show you some specific dreams or goals in the various areas of your life and ministry.
- For His wisdom.
Record what God shows you in light of dreams or goals in your personal life, ministry and other relationships.