I always remember how often Jesus retreated to solitary places to pray. I love the power of this statement in Luke 5:16: But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Jesus valued solitude for the purpose of prayer. He valued taking time away from people for spiritual purposes. During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ahead, I remember the importance of withdrawing from others to reconnect with God.
But how? Isn’t it rude to go off by yourself? No! It’s OK to tell people you need time alone to recharge spiritually. You can even plan ahead for solitude, especially if you have a house full of guests. What about waking up early or retreating to bed an hour before others? What about going on a walk alone? You can tell others you are developing the spiritual practice of solitude for the purpose of prayer. It might just inspire them as well. You might even invite your friends and family to designate times for solitude.
In that special time away from people, consider carrying your Bible and reading to listen to the Holy Spirit. Consider journaling your worries or prayer requests. Reconnect with God and ask to “keep in the step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5). Confess wrong attitudes about others or any sin that comes to mind. Ask God to fill you afresh and then enjoy reconnecting with your friends and family from a heart filled with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control). In your time of solitude for prayer, pray for your friends and family. Practice gratitude. Listen to the voice of God to direct you for the rest of the day.
Your solitude–when you’re away from people but near to God–will change everything about the times when you’re fully present with people during the holidays.