Monday, October 1, 2012

Finding a Quiet Place

High above the valley floor at Eagle's Nest in Germany
A quiet place for reflection
     Working in a busy office four days a week, I relish the moments in the day when I can steal away to have some quiet time.  Admittedly, it doesn't happen unless I make a point of it since we are caring for our son's puppy which is much like having a toddler full-time in our home.  Nevertheless, the value of spending time talking to the Lord in prayer and reading his Word refreshes my soul as nothing else can do.
     In the Bible, we have the examples of Jesus as He took time to go to a quiet place and pray.  Communing with His Father gave Him the strength to fulfill all that God had called Him to accomplish.
Mark 1:35 reads:  "And rising very early in the morning while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed."  This time of quiet escape came after a He met with multitudes and brought healing to them.  Then, following the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus found time to once again refresh Himself in fellowship with His Father:  "Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He dismissed the crowd.  And after He had taken leave of them, He went up o the mountain to pray" (Mark 6:45-46).  When the news came that John the Baptist had been killed, Jesus withdrew to pray and encourage His disciples as well:  "The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught.  And He said to them, 'Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.'  For many were coming and going and they had no leisure even to eat.  And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves" (Mark 6: 30-32).  A final example comes at the time of great crisis when Jesus knows He will soon face the cross, and once again, He calls His disciples to come away with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane.  "And He said to them, 'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.  Remain here and 'watch'.  And going a little farther He fell on the ground and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him" (Mark 14:34-35).
The solitude of the Cathedral at Lincolnshire, England
     If prayer and quiet time was important to the Lord, how much more important should it be for us?  Although our schedules may be very busy, we can and must find time to get alone with the Lord.  I remember reading a biography of Susannah Wesley who was a busy mother of nineteen.  Her daily prayer time came by putting her apron over her head.  When the children saw their mother in this pose, they knew not to disturb her as she was praying.  I felt convicted when I read that.  How often have I found reasons not to commune with God?  Certainly Susannah Wesley would have had many excuses, but she did not neglect what our Lord, through His life example, thought very important.
    Being short on time, I have found several ways to pray and have that important quiet time with the Lord.  In the early morning several days a week, my husband and I go for a walk.  During this time, we are both quiet as we talk with the Lord surrounded by the beauty of His creation.  On days that we do not walk, I pray while riding my stationary bicycle.  I could be watching the news, but I find my time with God is much more fruitful.  While getting ready for work, we, as a couple, listen to podcasts of sermons by Alistair Begg, Dr. R.C. Sproul or Dr. John MacArthur.  Feeding our minds on the Word before we step out the door through these sermons helps us to keep our focus on Christ.   At the breakfast table, we both read the Bible.   Then, when I get home from the office, I tune in the free online radio provided by Ligonier Ministries at .  As I listen, I have the opportunity to hear beautiful music, more messages from God's Word and Bible reading.  It is a pleasant way to unwind after listening to the phone ring at our office all day.
      Having a quiet time alone with God brings rest for our souls.  Lets face it, our world is spinning faster and faster every day with the pace of life increasing to hyper-speed.  If our Lord took time out to rest, pray and commune with His Father, how much more do we need this same practice?
     In closing, I am reminded of a hymn written in 1882 by William D. Longstaff entitled "Take Time to be Holy".  The words go as follows:
The quiet beauty of the Florida countryside.
  1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
    Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
    Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
    Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
    And run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
    And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
  4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
    Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
    Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
    Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
  5.      May we find the time to be have a quiet talk with the Lord as we study His Word.  Selah!

How do you find a quiet place to pray and study the Word?  I welcome your ideas, thoughts and sharing.

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