prayer and solitude
by Michael Hume 7/26/2011 / Christian Living
"Jesus often withdrew to solitary places and prayed." Luke 5.16
It is likely that Jesus did a lot of his praying alone and possibly outdoors. Praying alone suits my life since I am single and live alone. So even when I pray in my living room, it is mostly alone. I feel I can be myself completely with God, and pray about whatever comes to mind.
Most days it is walking and praying. If you are walking your mind is alert too, so it is a physical, and mental exercise. Nearly always I head for the quietest natural places, a walk along the canal towpath for instance. As long as contact with nature is maximised and humans minimised.
Praying outdoors alone is the best format for me. It enables me to pray aloud and if someone is near prayer stops unitl they are out the way. I feel I can praise God for his works as I'm praying. That is a huge advantage of praying outdoors. Being surrounded by water, lots of trees, yellow wild irises, waterhen splashing about in the water, all refresh me. God is enlivening me as I pray. Through what I see, hear and touch and smell.
At some level in my mind I'm always praising God for his works when I'm praying outdoors. For me that is among the most sincere praise, since I genuinely like his works. Besides, nothing man-made is remotely as good as what God has made. I suppose another advantage of being alone with God in prayer outdoors is that you are away from other people and artefacts. Your soul is being purified and conformed to Gods image of being very natural.
You get to see seasons change, observe plants, birds and animals closely, see many striking sunsets, the stars, shooting stars and comets. It can be a most rewarding voyage of discovery with God. The insights and experiences God gives are rich rewards to this kind of living.
Whether it's an hour of prayer, two or more, my best times with God in prayer have been alone outdoors. Time spent outdoors with God in prayer is time well spent.
Michael Hume. Christian since 1987, and in a daily personal relationship with Jesus. A freelance writer. abelongs to author.