If we are to live as true followers of Jesus, we will be intentional about the practice of solitude. Let’s look at 10 different times in Jesus’ life when he made solitude a priority:

  1. To Prepare for Ministry
    In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus fasts for 40 days in the wilderness in preparation for the inauguration of his ministry.We should seek solitude to intentionally prepare for future ministry.
  2. To Grieve
    In Matthew 14:13, Jesus receives the bad news of John the Baptist’s execution and withdrew by himself to grieve.We should seek solitude to recover from inevitable losses and disappointment.
  3. After Success
    In Matthew 14:23, Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray—right after feeding the 5,000.We should seek solitude in order to recover from a great victory that leaves us feeling tired and depleted.
  4. Hear From God
    In Matthew 17:1-9, Jesus seeks the silence of a lonely mountain and God speaks through the transfiguration.We should seek solitude in order to intentionally listen to God’s Spirit.
  5. Before a Major Challenge
    In Matthew 26:36-40, Jesus wants to pray alone in the garden before he faces the cross.We should seek solitude so we can find our quiet center and pray as a looming challenge approaches.
  6. To Gain Perspective
    In Mark 1:35, Jesus went off to a solitary place to pray following and during an intense season of ministry. He gains perspective as he talks with his Father and prepares for things to come.We should seek solitude to gain a clear perspective that leads to wise decisions.
  7. As an Example
    In Mark 6:31, Jesus invites the disciples to come away to a quiet place and rest after an intense season of ministry. He’s teaching the disciples the importance of the practice of solitude.We should seek solitude as an example to others who live noisy lives.
  8. For Renewal
    In Luke 5:16, we learn that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. He does this after draining seasons of life.We should seek solitude for rest, rejuvenation, and renewal.
  9. For Wisdom
    In Luke 6:12, Jesus spends the entire night on the mountainside praying before he chooses his disciples.We should seek solitude to find wisdom in choosing who we will serve alongside.
  10. To Find Direction
    In John 8:1, after the people debate whether Jesus is the Messiah and the Pharisees consider arresting him, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives while everyone else went home. In the midst of conflict, Jesus is seeking direction and clarity.We should seek solitude to find direction in the midst of internal and external conflict.

With so many instances when Jesus needed solitude, what makes us think we can just delete it from our lives?

By: Denny Howard
Denny Howard served as director of the Vitality Care Institute since 2001 providing a wide range of proactive and restorative coaching/counseling services for those who serve in people-influencing vocations, such as non-profit and ministry leaders.

He is a state licensed clinician in mental health, a marriage/family therapist and a certified addictions counselor. He is an ordained minister and a graduate of George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Denny was the host of a daily radio commentary called ‘Life Strategies’ for eight years and currently appears as a guest on a number of radio talk shows. He is also a featured speaker and conducts regular seminars on personality-based conflict, stress management, maintaining personal vitality and a wide range of interpersonal relationship issues.

Denny is also the creator of the Livstyle Visual Personality Assessments (www.Livstyle.com) designed for the workplace, ministry, marriage, and youth. Livstyle assessments are utilized for personal growth, team building and selecting prospective employees.

Denny is the Director of Counseling and Coaching for Full Strength Network.