Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
After feeding the 5,000 and before he goes out and walks on the water to meet the disciples in the boat, Jesus goes off to pray by himself. Earlier Jesus had learned that his cousin John had been killed by Herod, so he wanted to spend some time with God, the Father, alone. Jesus often went to a quiet place to pray; either alone or with the disciples. He often went up on a mountain or a high place. I believe that these are times of joy for Jesus; spending time alone with the Father.
When I think about Jesus alone in prayer, I think about Good Friday. I know it might be weird to talk about Good Friday when Christmas is just around the corner, but, we can’t look at the manger without also seeing the shadow of the Cross. So, I would like to share a little bit of my Good Friday routine.
Every year on Good Friday after our last service, I will go off to be by myself. Now, others may join me, but I inform them that this is alone time. So we go together, apart. For me, water is calming so I drive to the nearest river or lake. I go to the bank or the beach and I sit. Alone. Quiet. I listen for God’s voice. Often it takes a while for me to clear my mind but eventually I do…and I listen.
These Good Fridays have been some of the most joyous times of my life. I set aside all of my busyness; all of my concerns; all of my desires; and I listen. I do this other times of the year, but, on Good Friday, I’m very intentional about it.
Do you give yourself time to listen to God? Do you take time to be alone in the joy of Christ’s presence? If you have, that’s wonderful. If not, then now is a great time. Let us all take a moment and pause.