Solitude—a time set apart where the rush, noise, and anxiety of the world fall mute on the ears and heart of a child of God completely lost in the peace and presence of the Creator. Solitude is a time to be with your heavenly Father, free from the distractions the world offers us at seemingly every moment. We are made for consistent time spent in solitude.
C.S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory, “We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” Most of us have grown accustomed to what truly does amount to being “starved” for solitude. We never fully realize how great our need is to be alone with our Sustainer. Let’s take some time today to recognize our need for solitude and then learn how to best practice solitude on a daily basis.
You can know that you need solitude for one reason—Jesus needed it. All over the New Testament we see examples of Jesus going off on his own to pray. One example, Mark 1:35, tells us that Jesus, “rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark . . . departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Jesus, who practiced perfect communion with his heavenly Father while here on earth still needed to spend time in solitude. Jesus, who loved parties, loved people, and was God and man simultaneously, needed time alone. If he needed it, you and I can be sure we need it. When God incarnate was up against his hardest task, the Crucifixion, he didn’t just toughen up and get through it. He spent time alone in the Garden of Gethsemane in conversation with his heavenly Father. He needed solitude to accomplish his purpose here on earth and so do you and I.
Solitude is life-giving. It’s necessary to the Christian spiritual life. Richard J. Foster said, “Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfillment.” Solitude is one of the most important and life-giving spiritual disciplines. If you want to hear God, you must practice solitude. If you want fortitude in your life, a steadfastness that surpasses your circumstances, you must practice solitude. You are designed for time spent in the quiet, simply being with your heavenly Father.
So how can you best practice solitude? The first step is finding a place where you can spend time with God free from distractions. Find a place where you know you won’t be interrupted. If you live with others, find a time when they will not be around or awake. If you live alone, designate a place and time that you will spend in solitude free from any distractions. Second, give yourself an amount of time to spend with God just being in solitude. It could be ten minutes or an hour. Spend this time free from reading, free from worship or prayer unless solitude leads you to those things. Madeleine L’Engle said, “Deepest communion with God is beyond words, on the other side of silence.” Solitude is a point of deep communion where words aren’t required in light of God’s glorious nearness.
Take some time today to practice the incredible discipline of solitude. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with God. Fill the emptiness of silence with the satisfaction of God’s presence. Your heavenly Father loves just simply spending time with you, enjoying deep communion with his crown of creation. You are his child. Climb into the comforting and sustaining arms of your heavenly Father today as you enter into a time of solitude.