Luke 5:15-16: “Yet the news about him spread all the more. So that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
When Jesus began His ministry on earth at the age of 33, he began teaching through His authority as Christ and healing the sick wherever he went. Word spread and people would swarm him with illnesses asking him to heal them. I love what this passage says in verse 16, “But, Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”.
There is a reminder here for everyone and especially for those leading in ministry. Perhaps your ministry is overwhelming and your time is limited with higher pressures and responsibilities. The only time you get to be alone with God is when you are asking Him to prepare a teaching, a meeting, a presentation, or to deliver a biblical response to the public. Even though the pressures to heal and teach were part of Jesus’ ministry, He purposely withdrew to pray alone and he did so often. He withdrew while there were masses of people still crowding Him asking him for healing. If Jesus needed to withdraw to spend time with God, then we ought to as well.
In one of my books called, “Hearing God Through Your Dreams” by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe, I found this remarkable response by Dr, Billy Graham…
Larry King interviewed Billy Graham, a famous Christian evangelist who saved many lives around the world through his preaching of the Gospel. Shortly after his 80th birthday, Larry King said, “It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets.” Yet Dr. Graham’s response was surprising, “I am the greatest failure of all men. I was too much with men and too little with God. I was too busy with business meetings and even conducting services. I should have been more with God, and people would’ve sensed God’s presence about me when they were with me.”
Spending time with God was the main reason He got you this far and perhaps now that there is growth in your ministry the responsibilities and pressures are even higher. So the focus has become more about your performance and less about God’s presence.
If Jesus often withdrew to pray then we must too. There is freedom in saying no to the world in order to be with God. It is through Him that works through us anyway. Even if you are not leading in ministry this should still encourage you with any vocation you’re in. Have you let personal performance become more important than seeking God’s presence? Make time in your day to pray. Do so often.