By Tope Banso
“So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16 New King James Version).
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, he often spent time with God in private prayer. He practised solitude. Luke 5:16 says, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (New King James Version).
In Mark 1:35, the Bible records, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (New King James Version).
Moreover, Luke 6:12 says, “Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (New King James Version). Other Bible verses also record Jesus praying alone (Luke 9:18, 11:1 -2; Mark 1:35).
In the Garden of Gethsemane, though Jesus took some disciples along, he kept some distance from them to pray alone (Matthew 26:36-46).
You need to give priority to private prayer. Public prayer is not wrong, once it is not hypocritical (Matthew 6:5). Nevertheless, it is not a substitute for private prayer. You need to spend time alone with God in prayer. Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?” (New King James Version)
Don’t let busy schedule eliminate private prayer from your daily schedule. Don’t wait until you’re in trouble before you turn to God in prayer for deliverance. Don’t wait until the arm of flesh fails you before you run to God for strength. “No one will succeed by strength alone” (1 Samuel 2:9 New Living Translation).
A similar truth is stated in Psalm 33:16-17. “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength” (Psalm 33:16-17 New King James Version).
Your efforts can never be a substitute for prayer! The less you pray, the more you’re prone to falling into temptations. In the LORD’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation (Matthew 6:13). He told Peter, James and John to keep watch and pray so that they wouldn’t give in to temptation (Matthew 26:41).
The less you pray, the more anxious you become. Instead of worrying, take what’s worrying you to God in private prayer. Don’t be anxious, rather pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Anxiety will drain you spiritually. Cast all your cares upon God, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22).
Seek the LORD’s strength in prayer. You’ll run out of energy if you feel you’re self-sufficient. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (1 Chronicles 16:11 New King James Version)
Jesus said, when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father who sees everything will reward you (Matthew 6:6).
PRAYER POINT: Holy Spirit, please grant me the grace to spend time in private prayer daily.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
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▪Banso, an Abuja-based minister can be reached at Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria
Tel No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947