When it comes to the discipline of solitude and silence, this seems almost a pipe dream rather than a reality. Parents have young families. Employers and employees have deadlines to meet and projects to finish. Those who are ambitious have goals to meet. The great amounts of responsibilities we have make getting away for solitude and silence comes off as the acme of unproductivity.
Yet, repeatedly, Jesus would find times to retreat in order to be alone with His Father, and would tell the disciples on occasion to do the same thing. In Mark 6:30-32, we read:
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.
In many places, either prior to or immediately after a great miracle, Jesus would withdraw. On one occasion (Matthew 14:13), Jesus grieved over the death of John the Baptist, withdrew to a quiet place.
Many have written wonderful articles on the subject of solitude and silence. For me, I have distilled this in three basic steps.
- Pick a place. Any place will do, as long as that place has an atmosphere of quiet and solitude. No phone, no computer, no multi-tasking the Word.
- Make a plan. Whether it’s reading one chapter a day or reading the Bible in 90 days (approximately 15-16 chapters a day), have an intentional plan in place where you approach the Scriptures each and every day. It can be in the morning, in the evening, at lunch, or some of all three.
- Have a takeaway. When you walk away from your time with the Lord and in His Word, have one takeaway that you can focus on during the day. It can be a promise or a commitment you’ll make based on your daily time.
What has been helpful for you?