In the Gospels, we see Jesus spending solitude with the Father. That is so that He can pray to the Father and depend on the Father as He performed His ministry. Throughout the Gospels, there are different instances where Jesus withdrew or went to a place to pray to God. In Luke 5:16, we see that Jesus withdrew to lonely places to pray. The verses preceding verse 16 talk about Jesus doing His ministry and healing people. We also find the account of the leper who was healed when Jesus made him clean. We can learn from this that Jesus never let the business of His ministry neglect His prayer time and solitude with the Father.
Another instance is in the next chapter, in Luke 6:12, where Jesus is recorded to have gone up into the mountain to pray—again, to pray alone to the Father and spend solitude with Him. Mark 1:35 shows us that Jesus woke up early and went to a lonely place to pray. These verses tell us that we too get to spend solitude with God in a lonely place and pray to Him alone. Jesus did not go to a lonely place and pray to the Father on a whim. He premeditated it and intentionally set a time to withdraw from the crowds and pray alone with the Father. Sometimes we Christians get caught up; not with a crowd but with the business of life. Even when it comes to our ministry, we can get caught up with its business and neglect praying alone to God. However, as we have seen in the life of Christ, we are to withdraw from the business of life and make sure to spend solitude with the Father. We pray alone and spend solitude with God because we depend on Him for everything. We don’t do life and ministry all on our own without prayer because prayer is an act of humility before God. Praying is acknowledging that You need God, and that is why you come before Him in prayer.
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Is it okay to pray alone?
As we have seen in the life of Jesus, it is okay to pray alone. In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus tells us that when we pray, we are not to pray like the hypocrites who intend to be seen by others and impress others by making themselves look good and prayerful. Jesus tells us that we ought to pray in secret when we pray because God can see that which is done in secret. Even if no one sees us when we pray alone, God sees our hearts as we pray to Him.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Heavenly Father, You are the God Who sees everything in secret. I pray that You would give me the grace always to have a right heart when it comes to prayer; that prayer shall always be a way for me to converse and have a dialogue with You and not simply to impress other people. Thank You, because You see every prayer I do in secret and You reward me for it. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Is it better to pray alone or with others?
What Jesus forbids in Matthew 6:5-6 is not the act of praying publicly but the act of praying in public so that a person may make himself look good in front of others. In Acts 2:42, we see the early church devoting itself to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. That means Christians gathered to pray together as a church community. As a church community, they pray for many things and pray for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. That is already public prayer because others see you as you pray. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with that. It starts to become wrong when a Christian prays in public not to communicate with God and minister to others but to impress others and make himself look good.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Heavenly Father, You are the God Who shapes my heart. Give me the grace that whenever I pray in church gatherings or for other people, the heart behind it is to pray to You and bless other people and not to impress others. I pray that I shall always have the right heart when praying. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
How do you pray alone?
Based on the verses we have given above that show instances where Jesus withdrew to lonely places, we can see that the places Jesus withdrew to are places where He could spend solitude with the Father without any distractions. Christ went up on the mountain alone to pray and went to lonely places. Those places are places where it was quiet, and no one would distract Him. That does not mean you must go to a mountain or a faraway place to pray alone. It means that if we want to pray alone, we should find a place where we won’t be distracted by anyone or anything; a lonely place where we can pray. That goes to show that if you live in a house with your family and you are sharing a room with a sibling – and because of that you can’t concentrate whenever you pray to God – then you should go to a different area in your house where you won’t be distracted. Every person has different kinds of places where they can concentrate. Some do it inside a closet, while some go outside their home to a quiet place where they can spend solitude with God. It is all up to you. Just make sure that it is a place free from distractions.
Another thing to remember is that you also ought to set a time to pray to God alone. In the instances that Jesus prayed alone to the Father in a lonely place, Jesus intentionally withdrew from the crowd, and in other verses, He woke up early. It shows us that we have to make time for prayer. It is not something we do just when we feel like doing it. We have to set a specific time to withdraw from what we are doing, go to a quiet place free of distractions, and pray alone to God. Remember that God owns everything in the universe, even our time. It is the other things in life that should adjust to God. It is not a matter of whether we have time or not since all of us have time. Instead, it is a matter of what our priorities are. If indeed, we love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and above everything else, then we will go out of our way and make time for Him.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Father in heaven, You are the God Who gives me grace and empowers me. I pray for the grace that I shall always manage my time wisely and that You shall always be my priority over everything else in my life. Give me the grace to never neglect my prayer time with You. Instead, I shall always fight for it. Remind me that I ought to love You with all of my heart, soul, and mind; that I should put You above everything else. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
We go out of our way to go to a place free of distraction and set a specific time to pray alone with God because it is something that we do out of delight. Because we are in a relationship with the Father, we want to converse with Him. While, indeed, God commanded us to pray, we pray to God out of obedience and delight, and we never see His commandments to us as burdensome.