Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and during the heights of His ministry would seek out a quiet place and withdraw from everyone for short seasons of silent solitude. This happened repeatedly. Jesus often went off to a Solitary place to pray.
In the morning, rising up a great while before sunrise, He went out and departed to a solitary place. And there He prayed. Mark 1:35 MEV
There were others as well.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. Isaiah 24:63 ESV
Extended Times of Solitude
Then there were more extended times of solitude, by call and by circumstance.
Moses spent 40 days in the solitude of top of Mount Sinai. In that time alone he received the 10 Commandments that shaped a nation and all civilization since.
Elijah was sent by God to live alone by the brook Cherith. He was fed by the ravens and drank from the brook. He stayed there until God told him to leave. I Kings 17
John the Baptist lived in the barren wastes of the wilderness. Those who wanted to see him went out into the wilderness; he did not come to them.
As they departed, Jesus began to say to the crowds concerning John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: ‘Look, I am sending My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.’ Matthew 11: 7 - 10
The Apostle Paul spent three years in solitude in an Arabian desert. Like many other he spoke from that silence and transformed the church. Galatians 1:15 - 17.
We have the Book of Revelation because John the Beloved was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. Revelation 1:9
Seeking Solitude is Biblical
More than anything else on the list of Contemplative disciplines, Solitude is perhaps the most Biblical, and foundational. It is much easier to enter into Silence and embrace Stillness and Simplicity when separated from the company of others. And that is what Jesus and the Prophets knew.
Jesus told us that when we pray we need to go into our closet and be alone. This avoids ostentatiousness, and blocks out all distractions. It enables and enriches our prayer.
When you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:5- 6 MEV
Solitude is essential to sanity, sanctity, and our spiritual life.
Our corporate times of worship are wonderful and essential, but a deeper walk with God can only be birthed and nurtured during times of Solitude. The Solitude may only be a 10 minute time-out, a 10 hours day away, or it can be a 10 day retreat, but we all need some of it, and many of us need much more. Whole days or ten minutes it is a wise person who carves out of his schedule time to be alone. Go for a walk on your noon break, escape to some secret secluded place.
Solitude can retain sanity threatened and restore sanity lost. Seek out and find 10 minutes today to be alone, and alone with God.