Withdraw to a Desolate Place So You Don’t Waste Your Life

Withdraw to a Desolate Place So You Don’t Waste Your Life

But [Jesus] would withdraw to desolate places and pray. (Luke 5:16)

A retreat might just be what you need in order to not waste your life.

Note that Jesus, in the middle of very busy ministry, would withdraw to desolate places to pray and listen to his Father. Think about that. Jesus only had a public ministry of three years. He didn’t have any life to waste in planting the gospel seed that would change human history (Mark 4:30–32). So he would withdraw from activity to pray.

Obviously Jesus’s example exhorts us to daily set time aside to soak in prayer and the Word, especially in the morning (Mark 1:35). But, if you’re like me, an hour or so a day helps me in my daily fight of faith, but isn’t enough for sustained reflection on the big picture of my life and callings. That requires hours, and sometimes a couple of days.

Are you feeling spiritually thin from having pressed on too long without sufficient refueling? Have you lost sight of the forest of your calling in all the trees of your activities? Are you wondering if you’re in the right place, doing the right thing? Are you sensing what might be winds of future change beginning to blow? It’s time to head to a desolate place away from the daily demands and distractions to pray.

But before you do, prepare. One very helpful way to do that is to read or re-read Don’t Waste Your Life. This book will help you ask the most important life-calling questions and get you thinking about God’s global purposes so you don’t get mired in too much introspection.

Pastors and small group leaders, encourage your people to take a retreat this year and consider giving them Don’t Waste Your Life to read in advance. Desiring God makes cases of this book available at a very low cost for exactly this type of thing. It could be a gift beyond anything you ever imagined. Who knows where God might call someone under your care (or you!) while in that desolate place and what amazing kingdom advancement might result?

The world is in great need of the gospel. And God has a calling on your life to help meet that need. It may be that a desolate place to pray is exactly where you need to go next in order to not waste your life on less fruitful busy-ness.

Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.