Sacred Pauses: In Search of Solitude

Jesus praying

Jesus’ entire ministry is characterized by a deliberate rhythm of time with others and time alone.  Before calling his twelve disciples, he spent an entire night in prayer, alone on a mountain.  After the death of John the Baptist, Jesus withdrew to a place where he could be alone.  After teaching the crowds all day and multiplying bread and fish enough to feed them all, Jesus sent his disciples into the next town alone by boat, while he stayed behind for a time of solitude and prayer.  After an intense time of teaching crowds, Jesus went to the region of Tyre to be alone.  He encouraged his disciples also to take some time away by themselves, for they were so busy that they barely had enough time to eat.

April Yamasaki, “Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal,” 81. (Herald Press)

This ‘deliberate rhythm’ of time with others and time alone is something we cannot overlook as we read the gospels.  There were many crowds, yet  Jesus pursued solitude.  Jesus took time to withdraw from the intensity of his life in 1st century Palestine.  It was not a whimsical time.  It was intentional.  When Jesus withdrew, he did so with the purpose to discern God’s will, prepare for the intensity of the journey ahead, and rest.

We need to withdraw.  We need to find solitude.  We need time to discern God’s will, prepare for our journey ahead, and rest.  When we use phrases like “following in the footsteps of Jesus” we often forget that those footsteps took Jesus to solitude.

Follow the example of Jesus in scripture.  Find solitude.  Be deliberate in your pursuit.

How can you follow the ‘life rhythm’ of Jesus?  Where do you find solitude? 

(Check back next week for my interview with “Sacred Pauses” author, April Yamasaki)


  1. scottemery · February 14, 2013

    Great stuff here.
    I’ve been purposely seeking solitude through early morning times of reading and prayer. Getting to bed early enough to get up early in the morning has been the toughest part. (I have 3 kids under 4 years old.)
    One major reading source has been Nouwen’s “Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life” in which he discusses the movement from loneliness to solitude. Highly recommended if you haven’t read it yet.

    • Chris Lenshyn · February 14, 2013

      Nice, thanks for the recommendation. I love Nouwen. He is one of my favorite writers. I am always encouraged by his writing.

      I also hear ya, early mornings are a bit time toughie for me… 😉

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