These are three things I have to make myself do. They are hard for me at times. They require intentionality. They require effort. But they are vital to the spiritual life.
I find it difficult to slow down. I am either going full steam or I am asleep. There is very little in between. Luke 5:16 says "Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness to pray." I believe this is an example to us.
First, this spiritual practice should happen often. Most of us would think that Jesus would be "doing ministry" 24/7. We have trouble thinking of this practice as action-oriented. But here it is ... Jesus 'often' withdrew and prayed. I wonder if this time was devoted to just telling God the Father what He wanted? Or, maybe, Jesus was onto something deeper. Maybe He spent this time of slowing down to listen to the Father ... see clearly and reflectively what was happening around Him ... sensing His situation.
Second, Jesus withdrew to the wilderness. Isn't the wilderness a place of lostness? Isn't a wilderness a place where you are deprived of comfort? Isn't a wilderness a place we avoid? Not Jesus. I wonder if He did this to place Himself intentionally in a state/place of need for God? I wonder if this wasn't intentional discomfort so that He could see and feel the things that were really important?
Finally, Jesus was in a state and posture of prayer. Martin Luther said, "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than than to be alive without breathing." I believe prayer, for Jesus, was breathing in God the Father ... taking in the refreshment, guidance, goodness, provision and power of God. In it's most basic sense, prayer is all about us telling God we need Him and love Him.
I hope you will stop, look and listen today. Stop running ... look to God ... listen to what He says. Jesus gave us the model ... we should follow our leader. Randy