Prayer can be done anywhere, anytime, with anyone, or with no one. Just you…alone in solitude. Jesus often prayed alone. Mark 1:35 tells us, “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.” On a recent spring morning, I also slipped out to a solitary place to pray.
There is a beautiful desert garden I love to visit when the weather is good. This particular morning God met me there. In the span of twenty minutes, He reached down to my solitary place, unraveled my thoughts, and uplifted my heart. There is a stone-lined labyrinth in the middle of the garden that welcomed me to walk the journey. As I entered the circular path, I began to pray to the Lord. Actually, a song began to play in my mind and it became my prayer:
Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone.
Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, have your way in me.
I focused on the path in front of me, moving slowly as I prayed this song to God. I was in awe of my physical surroundings, the sounds, the smells, and the visible beauty of desert life. Lost in His presence, the Spirit of the Lord accompanied my every step, making my way around each circle. I paused whenever I felt the warmth of morning sunshine on my face. There I closed my eyes and lifted my head toward the sun and thanked God for the moment. As I walked in solitude, I heard God speak assurances of His love to my heart:
GOD IS YOUR HELPER: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” ~Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)
GOD HAS GIVEN YOU ETERNAL LIFE: “This is what God told us: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” ~1 John 5:11 (NCV)
JESUS IS THE WAY: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6 (CEB)
BELIEVE AND LIVE: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” ~John 11:25 (CSB)
YOUR PEACE IS IN CHRIST: “Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~Romans 5:1 (GNT)
Reflecting on these assurances from God, I cannot help but give thanks to the Father for giving us His Son – to be our way back to the garden’s perfect peace. In the beginning, after He made everything, God said it was VERY good (Genesis 1:31). Before the fall, Adam and Eve lived in paradise with God – no sin, no shame, no strife – just perfect peace. This was His original plan – to enjoy complete and everlasting relationship with humanity. After the fall, paradise was lost and the relationship was sullied, until God Himself came down to His creation to redeem humanity back into fullness of relationship. There is no greater love than this!
In these 50 days of the Easter Season, I pray we may follow Christ’s example to “slip out to a solitary place to pray to the Father.” May we seek His face and open our hearts and listen for God to speak assurances of His love to our hearts. May we sing a new song, “Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, have your way in me.”