Away to pray

by | Sep 1, 2023

Pastor John Dostal

Pastor John joined as lead Pastor at Concordia in Late 2021, relocating from Southern California. He nrings with him his wife Angela and two daughters.

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Pastor's monthly update from "The Concordian" newsletter.

From Luke 5:

15Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

We are living in a very busy world. Things are changing and moving so fast, it’s hard to keep up.

Our own lives are filled with “busyness”, too. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize the need to take a break. We don’t even have time to process our feelings or maybe even feel them.

When that happens, it’s time to take a break. It’s the only way to sort things out. We have to make time to reconnect with ourselves. When was the last time you got away to a lonely place to pray?

Luke tells us Jesus took frequent breaks. The demands of life wore Him out. He had to retreat to “lonely places” to pray.

Wait, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second person of the Trinity, had to pray? Who did He pray to?

He prayed to God the Father. He spoke with Him.

I picture Jesus walking in the desert. He wanders along creeks and through valleys. He climbs small hills. He sits down and takes in the views of creation. He disconnects from the demands of life in order to reconnect with His Father.

Jesus shares His frustrations, griefs, struggles and concerns about others and Himself to His Father. He pours out His heart. 

It doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t praying at other and all times, too. It means that He needed space to unload the burdens He was carrying.

He isn’t the only one. Both women and men need time to retreat and pray. I used italics in the word and to emphasize that getting away isn’t always about getting away to do something. It is getting away to do nothing except pray. That can be hard for men. It can be hard for women, too. Social lives often revolve around being with other women. Yet, Jesus withdrew to lonely places to pray.

Sometimes, we can’t get away from the demands that are placed on our shoulders. It could be caring for an ailing spouse. It could be caring for a child with or without special needs. It could be the “side-hustle” of an additional job just to make ends meet. In those cases, getting away to lonely places may not be an option for the time being. 

Those are the times when we need the support and prayers of others to carry on. And, if at all possible, to get someone to help out with caring for our loved one so we can recover.      

Today, I am offering you an opportunity and a challenge. Get out of here! I mean it. Get away from the daily demands of your life. Go out into nature. Bring your Bible, or don’t. Climb a hill and sit on the grass. Walk along a creek or sit by the Kings River. Go to a park. Don’t look at your phone, for goodness’ sake! Don’t worry about the time.

In fact, as you pray, don’t leave until you have exhaled all the prayers on your mind and heart.

The result of this “exhaling” is peace. Peace of mind and heart. It doesn’t mean all your troubles will go away, but they will be heard by your Father. Those prayers are heard because they are prayed through your Savior and mine, Jesus Christ.

As you reconnect with nature around you and God the Father with you, you may find that you reconnect to yourself as well. You become human again. Peace returns to your heart and mind.

We all need this. Even God the Son needed it. My prayer for you is that you find time this month to get out of here and go pray. It is time well-spent.

Finally, don’t worry about the way you speak or the words you use. God doesn’t care. He isn’t a grammarian checking syntax and usage. He just wants to hear your voice and reconnect with you. It’s His joy to have you, His child, speak to Him and ask Him for help in time of need.

So, get out of here. You need it. I need it.

Even Jesus needed it.

Now, may the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, 

Amen