Quiet Times In Quiet Places
Chan Gin Kai
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. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
As news of the healing of a leper spread rapidly, large crowds came to Jesus. So Jesus got really busy healing and preaching to all of them. But the busier he got, the more he turned to God.
Luke records that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. This is a recurring theme in the Gospel of Luke because it was a recurring habit of Jesus.
Before Jesus started his ministry, he went into the wilderness where he fasted and prayed for 40 days (Luke 4:1-2). At Capernaum, he healed many people and cast out demons through the night, and “at daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place” (Luke 4:42). Jesus was alone at the Lake of Gennesaret, before a multitude of people came to him (Luke 5:1). That’s four accounts of this habit in just two chapters; and there are still more of them throughout Luke’s Gospel.
These weren’t the thrice-daily regimen that the Jews practiced, which Jesus would have devoutly followed too. It wasn’t merely a quiet room, a rooftop or a backyard. Jesus made deliberate efforts to go to solitary places outside of town, so he could be alone with God. It wasn’t a one-time thing because something tragic happened and Jesus was so overwhelmed that he needed a special time with God. It was something he did regularly.
Are you too busy for God? I’ve got to confess that when work piles up and deadlines loom, I have the tendency to neglect God. As Christians, we need to be great spouses and parents, responsible in our work, and shine in the things we do. We should enjoy travel, hobbies, games and our favourite pastimes too. But we often pursue these first, and our time with God depends on the balance we have left. God has to be our priority, not an afterthought.
But how do we cope then with the various demands on our time, and the many important things that require our attention? Are we supposed to become irresponsible employees or neglectful parents? Do we give up opportunities or shirk our duties? We only have 24 hours after all, and Christians are not blessed with more hours a day.
I used to wonder how I could balance my limited time between God and other responsibilities, until an insight dawned on me. It was so simple a solution I felt stupid for not having thought of it earlier... we may not have more time, but we can pray for greater efficiency.
I started praying for greater clarity of mind, so I can make better plans that require lesser time to execute. I ask God for more wisdom so I make fewer time-wasting mistakes. I pray for intelligence and ideas to solve problems faster. And guess what, it works!
Besides our daily prayers and bible studies, do we also have special times when we go to a quiet place to spend time with God? Find some time and explore some quiet places where you can devote a few hours or days just to be with Him. Reflect, journal, sing, write poetry, pray, listen to worship songs, read the Scriptures... make it a special time with God, and make it regular.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".