HOW TO FIND SOLITUDE
When we talk about solitude we have to understand that there are two types of solitude;
- outer solitude- is the secluded places we find outside of ourselves
- inner solitude- inner solitude is peace we find inside ourselves.
The goal of course in solitude is to find the inner kind—so that we are better able to hear the voice of God. But to find inner solitude it is always easier to start with outer solitude; for when we are free of distractions around us and are better able to read and meditate on the Word, then we are also more empowered to think about God and to pray.
So let us begin our search for outer solitude with the goal of finding inner solitude. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you start your search: where is a place that I will commune with God—where He will be most real to me? Where is a place that will allow me to think clearly, a quiet place that is free of distractions? Where would be the ideal place to pray?
Some of the best places that i found best to pray is at church during the week and in my bedroom. In simple terms, we all have our comfortable environment that brings us outer solitude.
The Bible tells us that Jesus very often got up while it was still dark and went to a lonely place to pray
When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities Matt. 14:13
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. Mk. 1:35
However, the report went around concerning Him all the more; and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.Luke 5:15-16
If you think about it, the best hours for prayer are about 3 or 4am, but one caution is that we should not turn these timings into a taboo ritual. Jesus would wake up early to pray due to the heat that was there during the day, which would make it uncomfortable for one to find a suitable place to be in solitude. They are the most ideal hours to pray because people usually don’t stay up that late and they don’t get up that early. The roads and sidewalks would be deserted and it would be dark. The birds wouldn’t even be up yet!
I know it’s hard to get up that early. It takes some dedication. I admit I don’t very often do it, but this is what Jesus did. Sometimes He was up all night praying! If you want to find the best places of solitude, in order to find God, you will have to make some sacrifices.
Perhaps you are going through a time in your life where God seems distant, where you can’t seem to even tell that His presence is with you. Maybe, just maybe getting up early to pray will be the key for you. Maybe this is the kind of effort you need to find Him. The Bible tells us that if we seek Him with all our heart and soul we will find Him
And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you 2 Chron.15:2
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jer. 29:12, 13
If you live by a desert this is an ideal place to find solitude. It is well known that the deepest roots of faith began in the desert—yes, in the desert where everything is dead. It was in the Sinai Desert where God led the Children of Israel for forty long years, being sustained mainly from manna, which God caused to fall from heaven.
It was in a desert where Jesus ministry began, where He was tempted by Satan and where He ate no food for forty days (Matt. 4:1-2). Also, it was in the Arabian Desert where the Apostle Paul was alone with God for three years being taught by no man, only God (Gal. 1:16-18). Yes, God is often found in the desert, simply because there is nothing else to find there—all other life is dead. And so, when you look for a quiet place, I think it is best to find a place like the desert—a place that is lonely, lifeless, and perhaps a little boring, a place that gives your senses no pleasure, a place that drives your spirit to seek for God alone who is the source of life.
For most of us, including myself, we most often pray and have our quiet time inside. I like to pray in my room because it is the place best suited to do my Bible reading and where I have access to many Bible study resources. For me, it is not a problem to find solitude in my room, because I can lock up myself in the room for a lengthy time, and I don’t have a TV or radio in my room. However, even though I like to study and pray in my room, I think I still need to get outside once in a while.
There is nothing like the fresh air to awaken my spirit to the love of God.
I believe He calls me every once in a while to go outside—perhaps to remind me of all that He has created for me to enjoy. Also, when I pray outside it is always a special time, a time that is unhurried.
After you have found, and have gotten in the habit of going to those quiet places, those places of outer solitude, you must next learn inner solitude—that is, learn how to close the door of your heart. The main essence of the outer solitude is to lead us into the inner solitude.
The sad reality, however, is that too often we stop our search, having achieved only outer solitude. I suppose that is because inner solitude takes too much time and effort. But if we keep at it, keep struggling to find it, we will find it and be pleasantly surprised; for with inner solitude we can be at peace with God anywhere we go. As believers we have to learn to push beyond our limits day by day for we have the Grace of God to sustain us each day.
So what really is this inner solitude? I think I would describe it this way:
- It is that state in which you are at peace and at rest in Christ because you have confessed your sins, He has cleansed you from sin, and He feels at home within you Eph. 3:17.
- It is having a mind that is being strengthened with might through God’s Spirit—which is being rooted and grounded in the love of God and Christ, and that is constantly thinking about, dwelling on, and getting to know and comprehend the love of Christ and the fullness of God Eph. 3:16-19. Therefore, the state of inner solitude is that state in which your mind is clear and strong and is always thinking about God and getting to know Him.
- It is having a mind that delights in God’s Word and is satisfied with being His slave and a slave of righteousness Rom. 7:22, 25.
- It is an inner peace that guards the heart and mind when we trust Him to take care of us (Phil. 4:7, Is. 26:3).
Now the question is how does one go about making Christ to be at rest within, so he will obtain this inner peace and strength? Mainly, I think we do it by deciding to let go of all our sins and cares and wants, and by simply asking God to fill up our life with Himself, to take control of our life and give us His peace.
This of course is a continual process. Since we live in a sinful world and have sinful flesh, we will no doubt continue to sin, which is always grievous to the Lord and it always takes away our peace. But God has given us a solution; He has given us a way to continually wash away that sin. All we have to do is confess our sins to Him and He will forgive us and cleanse us.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This verse of truth is the Christian’s bar of soap. It is the way we can continue to cleanse ourselves from sin and have continual peace. We must never neglect to use it. God has given it to us and it works.
Caution- we should never take the continual process of working grace in our lives to still walk in the habit of sinning but rather we should fully acknowledge the works of the cross so as to find total deliverance from the acts and nature of sin.
Our natural tendency is to deny our sin (v. 8). But don’t ever deny your sin or try to hide it. If we do that we are calling God a liar (v. 10), for God has told us that we have all sinned (Rom. 3:23).
But He has given us an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 Jn. 2:1). If we confess our sins to the Father He will forgive us because of what Jesus Christ has done for us (Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, 1 Jn. 2:2. He died for our sins on the cross paying the penalty for our sins. Therefore, every time we confess our sins we are forgiven and cleansed because of Jesus’ shed blood for us.
Let us never neglect to confess our sins to God; for when we do, the blood of Christ is applied to our heart and gives us immediate peace and joy.
The next steps you need to take to gain inner solitude is to be open to what God is saying to you, and then do what He wants you to do. If you have truly confessed your sins you will want to do everything He wants you to do. If you have wronged a brother or sister, God will be telling you in your spirit to get the situation right with them. And so you need to do that. Likewise, with regard to anything that is sinful and that dis-pleases God, you need to confess it to God and be open to do what He wants you to do. It will no doubt involve some changes in your life.
When you have gotten these things taken care of—when you have confessed your sins and made things right—you have made it possible for Christ to be at rest and at peace within you. Hence, you have opened up the line of communication between God’s Spirit and your spirit.
This is what inner solitude means—or we could also call it inner peace.
Now some may say, I have found places of quiet and I have found occasional inner peace, but every once in a while when I pray I am distracted by noises and I can’t seem to make the noises go away.
Well, let me say, first of all, if you are distracted by noises you really haven’t acquired that inner peace. There may be some sin in your life you need to deal with so that God will give you peace. Moreover, if you are trying to make the noises go away you don’t really have the right approach. What you really ought to do is accept the noises and pray over them. The noises are what your situation is; it is the world around you; it may be the devil distracting you; it may be God trying to get your attention; no doubt it is a combination of things. If you reject the noises you are rejecting God and the world God has put you in. Remember, God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). So, what you need to do is accept those noises as being part of your world; accept them and pray over them, and eventually what you thought to be a distraction will result in a good purpose. Yes, thank God for each bit of noise and for each voice and for each
stray thought, and pray over each one. Regard them all not as a hindrance to prayer but as opportunities for prayer, even as prayer requests sent from heaven. Soon each bit of noise will be not distraction but blessings straight from heaven.
Eventually, the inner solitude will allow us to hear God’s voice clearly and having a good foundation in the word gives us a better understanding of His promises and precepts.
From this point a believer can easily hear what direction God is giving them concerning a particular matter.