by Pastor Bob Myers
I’m just finishing up a retreat for solitude and prayer and some prayerful planning for the new ministry season. This is only my third year doing this. How I wish I had understood how essential regular solitude and prayer are for ministry as so much has come out of these times that has steadied my pace, reaffirmed a direction that might be hard, and just learn the pleasure of being with Jesus.
If Jesus needed solitude, and started his ministry with forty days of fasting and prayer, I’m sure I can use at least a few!
So the prayer time starts before the key is in the ignition. He rides shotgun the whole trip, and I’m pretty sure he prefers the Jeep top down. I let him decide what to listen to. He seems fond of the Bible Experience and Daily Audio Bible.
This year the campsite we pitch our tents at endured a record 20 inches of rain in July, not only reshaping the landscape with lots of standing water, but creating a mosquito population boon, followed by a more delightful frog population, fat frogs feasting on mosquitos, followed by a less delightful snake population mainly evidenced by dead snakes as roadkill, but a snake did cause me to move camp. But Jesus didn’t mind at all, and I didn’t mind much.
I spent much time in Isaiah, Deuteronomy, and Luke, and then extended times praying, meditating, reflecting. Someone advised me to write down the questions I had for the Lord, which proved to be a great exercise in all facets of my life.
All I will say is that Jesus is THE wonderful counselor, and His ability to answer or not answer our questions while questioning them in grace is a gift from spending time with Him.
One of my questions for Him is, what do you think of the questions I’m asking? What do you want most to say to me? What do you wish I’d be more curious about? More assertive about? Where should I pull back and let go? What’s healthy in me and what’s unhealthy? The ending of Psalm 139 which Rob Chifokoyo preached on models some really good questioning of the Lord in prayer.
God desires intimacy with us. I believe we’ve often confused depth with knowledge. But to go deep with God is intimacy. We think some of the wordy songs we sing are the most deep. But I think the deepest songs are the ones that often make us uncomfortable with their focus on simplicity and intimacy, driving us deep into Biblical experience and realities the Bible speaks of in what I call the experiential psalms. Intimacy often makes us uncomfortable, and we’re liable to change the subject when the door opens.
The deep things of God are spoken of as that which God’s Spirit has revealed to us so that we have the mind of Christ.
Our Lord Jesus won’t push Himself upon us. He’s available, and wants to reveal His mind to us as He ministers health to ours. But He won’t press into already crammed lives and thoughts that are already filled. We have to seek, Knock, and ASK.