The Importance of Being Silent


Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.


Jesus did this often – even when “conventional” leadership wisdom would have held that He should keep going. He went up to the mountains, He took a boat out to sea, He was constantly slipping away just to be by Himself. Sometimes He did this out of fatigue, but it was always to commune with his Father.

This discipline of solitude and silence was the foundation of Jesus’ incredible ministry. Upon this, He built large speaking engagements across the country, amazing miracles that served as great public relations, and life-altering lessons that provoked and inspired the people He encountered.

“Solitude is more a state of mind and heart than it is a place,” Richard Foster wrote in Celebration of Discipline. “But inward solitude has outward manifestation. There is freedom to be alone, not in order to be away from people but in order to hear the divine Whisper better.”


Without God, it all falls apart sooner or later. And Jesus knew that.

Without God – without connecting to the God of all ministry in prayer – the days get harder. The harvest is overwhelming. The crowd presses in. Some days we just feel like 200 denarii worth of bread is not enough for each member of our community to get even a little bit (John 6:7).

Soon we find ourselves disconnecting. Status: Deactivated.

In this day and age, it’s hard to get away from the crowd. So we make our excuses for never seeking solitude: Even Jesus operated in crowds, we tell ourselves.

But we forget even Jesus sought to withdraw from the crowds He ministered to. The Son of Man got tired like any other man.

Many chapters in the Gospel start with Jesus withdrawing from society, from where people were, to seek both physical and spiritual rest. (In the Gospel of Matthew alone, this happened in Chapters 4, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 26 – the latter for one last troubling night, at Gethsemane.)

“The fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others,” Foster added. “There comes a new freedom to be with people. There is new attentiveness to their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts.”

Other than taking time out for spiritual retreats on a regular basis, Foster says to also capture the “little solitudes” that fill our day: Those early morning moments in bed when you rise, sipping a cup of coffee before heading off to work, the walk home past a quiet field.


We must rest not because every ounce of our strength is gone but because we want to keep going – and going strong in the power of God. Ministry is a marathon, and prayer pitstops don’t slow us down as much as they keep our engines running. We pause so we can go further.

Jesus rested, and then He went straight back into the thick of the crowd.

So, dear friend, slip away and find your desolate place. Close the door and give your soul its much-needed Sabbath. No meetings. No next appointments. No calls or messages. And when you’re well rested in the Lord and your strength is renewed, go back out to the crowd – for it is waiting.

Today’s devotion was contributed by and edited.


How can you slip away from the crowd and withdraw to be with God today?

  1. I can start my morning spending time with God.
  2. I can take a walk with God today.
  3. I can turn off my phone and computer and be still with God.
  4. OTHER


Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us the necessary importance of slipping away from the crowd and pursuing intimacy with our Father.

I pray, Holy Spirit, please tell me when I am to move away from the crowd, from the noise, from the hustle and bustle, and from my daily activities. As I seek You, I pray that strength will rise within me. I pray that You will give me perspective, renewed vigour, and joy.

In Jesus’ name, amen.


Pray for your church pastors and leaders today. Pray that they will also take time to move away from the crowds to seek God in silence and solitude. Pray for them to be strengthened by the Lord.

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