In the midst of great healing and miracles, Jesus took a “time-out” to pray, He withdrew to the wilderness, or deserted place.
Advent is such a beautiful time of meditation and preparation; I have tried, with varying degrees of success to get my Christmas shopping done before Advent each year so as to really be able to enjoy the season. Even then, after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Years, and two children’s birthdays which we have nestled in there too, Ephiphany can leave me a little drained rather than spiritually filled. Parties and presents and shopping, oh, my! I pack away decorations and some years am left feeling spiritually empty again. I find myself wanting another spiritual detox in reverse, where I strip everything away and leave myself alone with the Lord.
A priest told me once that I should spend an hour each day, just in prayer or meditation or some form of worship. I laughed and said “And how do I do that with four little ones to take care of? I can’t even shower without being interrupted.”
How exactly we carve out special time with the Lord is, of course, personal. Some attend daily Mass, others pray while they exercise, journal or meet with other believers for study, some are able to pray through the ordinary—to pray while they wash dishes and change diapers or drive.
For me, it is a mix of approaches. When it comes down to listening to the Lord, I need some peace and quiet. My constant mind-chatter and the chatter of the little mouths around me make it impossible for me to hear the Lord speaking. Doing this at the end of the day leaves me asleep after just a few minutes, so I have adopted giving the Lord the first part of my day and the first part of my daughter’s naptime. It doesn’t always work out, but I am working on it. If you are struggling to find some consistent time, I congratulate you on the first step—these devotions. I invite you to pray everyday for some direction on how you can give God more daily.
Do you have deserted places to pray?
How do you find balance in the day?
How do you make time to go to your deserted place to pray?
Give yourself the time to read and reflect each day. Take a minute to jot down three or four options that would give you a chance to pray and reflect.
Then play around with your timing or strategies, maybe mornings, maybe evenings, maybe your lunch breaks. Give yourself a week trying something and then switch to something else if it isn’t working.
Just don’t give up, because if Jesus withdrew to a deserted place to pray, shouldn’t you?
MaryRuth Hackett is a full-time wife and mother doing her best to teach her four children to love God and country. You can find out more about her here.