Written by Robin Coulston

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.     Mark 1:35

Disciple– one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another, a convinced adherent.

I was recently part of a small group that concentrated on what discipleship means. When you trust Jesus as your Savior, that’s the beginning and the most important thing you’ll ever do. But if you never get past this beginning, you’ll never experience the joy of growing closer to your Savior.  Bible study in a small group setting, listening and learning from sermons, and worshiping through song and corporate prayer with a congregation are absolutely vital to your spiritual growth. In these ways, you are gaining knowledge and confidence so that you can spread God’s love by leaving seeds of hope in the lives of those that are hopeless.

BUT…

Jesus teaches us that NOTHING is as important as time alone with our Heavenly Father.  Consider the text of the following verse:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,”                                                                                                         (“Before the world gets possession of our thoughts” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible))
“Jesus got up”                                                                                                                                                                         Even though the day before, He had been healing those who were physically sick and those who were demon possessed— He was exhausted, yet rose to be with His Father.
“left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed,”                                                                               Solitary– being, living, or going alone or without companions.                                                                                                Pray– entreat, implore
“There are times and cases when a true Christian would not be willing that his dearest friends should be witnesses of what passes between God and his soul.” (Benson Commentary)

Although you should always be able to share most of your prayer requests with fellow brothers and sisters, there are times when time alone with Jesus is of the utmost importance. This has been true for me. Not long ago, during a time of what could have turned into a season of despair, God allowed me to cry, scream, wail, yell, and beg for His mercy! I would NEVER have shared this much pain and outward emotion with anyone besides my Heavenly Father. It was OUR business. Just between my Daddy and me. He did not want me to depend on anyone but HIM. He held me and comforted me as no one else could ever do. I went to a solitary place and found hope.

Only through time alone with our Father, can we be able to be disciples, ready to reach out to our families and our communities. 

Seek a solitary place with Christ. Seek out those who need God’s love and be His disciple. You’ll never be the same.  My Mom always says, “He’s just the best thing that ever happened to me!”

Heavenly Father, You know my weaknesses. You know my fears and anxieties, insecurities and doubts. Even through these hurts, You choose to use me. You desire to see me grow in faith and not wallow around in self-pity. I can come to You in our secret place and feel renewed and revived and ready to follow the pathway of discipleship that You have set before me. You have given me a special passion to share the stories of those who are under persecution for being Your disciples. Lord, give me eyes and a heart for those who are hurting here and abroad.  Amen

Do you feel God has given you a special passion? Do you want to become a disciple that is willing to be used? Do you want to have a connection with Your Savior that is just between you and Him? Confess your failures to Him in your solitary prayer time and be ready to be set free!