Withdraw to Pray

Jesus, often; us, ever?

So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. Luke 5.16

It is not likely that I am as busy as Jesus was, or as pressed with people and needs. Jesus would often retire alone for prayer, leaving His work in order to wait before the Father alone for an extended season.

What did He do at such times? If His prayer in the garden, as enlarged in John 17, is any guide, He communed with the Father about the priorities they shared and the work set before Him during His earthly sojourn.

How often did He do this? It isn't clear, and there does not seem to be anything like a pattern or regular schedule. But it was a practice that characterized Him, and that those who knew Him expected of Him from time to time, as is indicated by the periphrastic construction (ἦν ὑποχωρῶν).

Jesus was sent to the world to pray. Prayer was a major component in the work He did to glorify God. Since Jesus often withdrew for extended, focused seasons of prayer and meditation, it seems a good practice for us to embrace as well.

Send me your thoughts about this – experiences you’ve had in extended times of solitude, suggestions for making this a valuable time for your life and ministry, resources you would like to share, and more. Write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and let’s learn together about how to make good use of this important practice.

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