Thursday, June 6, 2013

Desolate Places: Where Our Strength is Renewed

by Gregory A. Johnson
Desolate Places: Where Our Strength is Renewed, by Gregory A. Johnson

In the wilderness, we experience spiritual growth as God prepares us. Desolate places are where our strength is renewed so that we can continue the journey and complete our mission.

The crowds pressed in all around him to hear his anointed and life-giving words. He revealed the kingdom through both his words and actions, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, breaking through man-made religious, gender, economic, and racial barriers with peaceful love and grace. He was driven by the Holy Spirit and on a mission from his father. The pressures of ministry and time constraints were great, but yet as Jesus walked this earth as our example, he withdrew to desolate places.
“But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their infirmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:15-16 ESV).
Notice a couple of points:
  • Jesus did not allow the demands of people to take away from his prayer time.
  • Jesus withdrew himself from ministry and people for seasons of prayer. 
All of God’s children have prayer in common. These are challenging days, and the pressures of life can become overwhelming and even debilitating. It is a must that we separate ourselves from it all and spend time in prayer, releasing all of our worries, all of our anxieties, all of our needs, and all of our burdens to God, and receiving his grace, mercy, strength, and direction.

Please allow me to share some of my recent thoughts on prayer:
  • We can bring all of our hurts, wrongs, and hardships to God in prayer.
  • Prayer prepares the heart and softens it under the loving hand of God (E.M. Bounds quote).
  • God's goodness will be given to us in answer to prayer.
  • God’s will for us is to pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances.
  • Giving thanks is the life of prayer.
  • We must call on the Lord in truth, which means praying while expecting his promises for us that are declared in His Word. 
  • As we pray, we will receive a holy boldness that enables us to speak and live God’s word in these difficult days.
  • Persistent prayer is the ability to hold on, press on, and wait. It is a necessity.
  • We will find rest as we seek God in prayer. He gives order and strength.
Beloved, seeking his guidance, we talk to Jesus continually throughout the day, but we also need to separate ourselves from the demands of life and ministry to spend time in prayer. Withdrawing to your desolate place where you will not be disturbed or interrupted, spend time in prayer. The Lord will renew your strength there.

Know that you are loved,