40 Days of Prayer 2024: Day 22

Today, we are on Day 22, and we continue our time focusing on the practice of Solitude.

(You can catch up on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 15, Day 17 Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21 if you missed them)

I love prayer. My life and this ministry depend on it fully. It still amazes me that we have the privilege of approaching the Creator of everything, any moment, and He has promised to hear us. It still amazes me that we can show the world how He listens and how He cares just by presenting our needs to Him and waiting for Him to prompt others to help. I love prayer, and I strongly believe in its power.

And yet, I consistently find barriers and distractions to taking time alone with God in silence and solitude.

We see a lot of overlap between the practices. Prayer weaves its way into each one, and they all work together for our good. And in this practice of solitude, it’s hard to separate them at all. In looking through scripture and the practices we see in followers of Jesus throughout the last 2,000 years, we see silence accompanying solitude. This part of the practice is probably the hardest but most important for me right now. And from talking with so many of you, I’m not alone in this.

Every healthy relationship needs time of planned and spontaneous time together. The mark of closeness in a relationship is often shown in those who can simply sit in comfortable silence together. Wasting time together, if you will. It’s in this that the fruit of relationship is often discovered and enjoyed. Simple communion with no agenda but being together. With such an obvious need for God’s work to be done in us and those around us, spending time with no agenda, wasting time together is the most neglected form of prayer.

My beloved spoke and said to me,
    “Arise, my darling,
    my beautiful one, come with me. Song of Solomon 2:10


And this is how God got my attention when I first began my journey to Sabbath. During our time on Sabbath, I shared how I’ve had migraines my whole adult life. But several years ago, during and in the aftermath of the pandemic, they became much worse and much more frequent. I had friends dedicated to praying for me, specifically for this each day. They remained perplexed as I did. Nothing helped. One day, a friend heard from God, and she asked me if I was perhaps, just not listening to Him. Well, this at first perplexed me! I spent several hours each morning in prayer. How much more could I do? And she gently prodded and asked if, during all that praying, was I making time to just be with Him. She asked frankly if my prayer time had become all work and no relationship.

And I knew at once this was the Lord. His corrections always draw us to Him, never away. I had gotten caught up in all the extra work that came with the pandemic and had neglected my first love (Rom 2:4). There was a lot of intercession, a lot of gratitude and adoration, but very little being still and knowing Him. God had the key to helping me, and I wasn’t stopping to listen. I had gotten so far off the track of the rhythm and lifestyle He wanted for me, but I was too overloaded to realize it. What began as extra work and necessary in-crisis rhythms of the pandemic had somehow become my regular every day.  And this was the very beginning of the journey that led to Sabbath and rest for me, the Lord drawing me, in the midst of all we were doing together, to just sit and be with Him. Time together, not focused on the overwhelming needs around us. Time for my soul and thoughts to settle and my heart to beat in time with His. This opened up a whole new world for me and was a paradigm shift for me and who I know God to be. In the midst of the overwhelming need around us, what our soul most needs is time with Him. I’ve been walking with Jesus a long time and He continues to reveal Himself to me as even better than I can possibly imagine.

On day two of the practice of prayer, we focused on the relational aspect of prayer. Praying is how we communicate with God, and it’s how we join Him in His work. And just like with our earthly relationships, it flourishes with time spent together, both planned and spontaneous, both in work and in rest.

Over and over again in the Gospels, we see Jesus going to a secluded place to be alone with God. And for the next several days, we are going to dive into the practice that through the years, has been called solitude and silence. While prayer can mean all types of conversation with God, solitude and silence focus on being with God and listening. Each practice of Jesus in transformational for us. But I have my suspicions that is the greatest of them all for our transformation in Him. It might also just be God’s favorite!

We serve a God who longs to spend time with you. The God who hung the stars cares about your heart and the most minor details of your life. He longs for whole-hearted fellowship with you. Our God is love in relationship. And we are invited to share in the eternal love of the Trinity and spend time in His presence. And in this we are formed by His Spirit. The more time we spend with Him the more our automatic responses in our days become more Christlike.

Reflection for prayer and/or journaling:

Many of you enjoyed writing out a passage in our time on Scripture, so let’s continue

Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”

25 The Lord is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.

Pray together:

Father we are overwhelmed by your faithfulness and love for us. When we are unfaithful, you remain faithful. Draw each heart to you today, fill each one to overflowing with your love. You are our portion, and our hope is in you. Quiet our souls and our minds as we sit with you. Quiet the demands and worries of life outside our secret place with you. Ignite a passion in each person here for you alone, for in you alone we find fulfillment. In the name of Jesus, we pray together, amen.

Have a blessed Sabbath tomorrow! And we’ll meet back here for Day 23 on Monday.

♥ Samantha