The writers of the Gospel note that before every major event and decision in Jesus’ life, he went off to be alone with God in prayer. The simple take-away from his example is: Before you make major life decisions, set a new course, or embark on a significant event, get some time away in solitude with God to pray.
Jesus Went Away to Pray before Major Decisions and Events
1. Before Jesus started his ministry, he went off to the desert for a time of extended prayer and preparation.:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1-2)
2. As Jesus was about to choose his inner circle of Disciples, he spent the night on a mountain praying before he chose his closest disciples to train to accomplish his mission:
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16)
3. In preparation for the Last Supper Jesus would have with his disciples, before he passed the baton of leadership to them he prayerfully prepared for this moment.
Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives. (Luke 21:37)
He retreated to the garden each evening in preparation for the intensity of spiritual conflict that was building up to a climactic point at the cross.
4. Preparing to endure the Cross he went to the Garden of Gethsemane
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ (Matthew 26:36-39)
5. The writer of Hebrews summarizes much of the Gospel writers stories of Jesus’ pattern of regular prayer before major life decisions and events:
In the days of his flesh, he offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his piety. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:7-10)
What About Your Major Life Decisions & Events?
Here are just some examples of major decisions or events that it would be a great idea to follow Jesus’ pattern and spend some time in prayer about:
- Relationships: Choosing who we want to have as close friends
- Recreation: Committing to a sports team or other extracurricular activities
- Choosing a University and Major area of study
- Should I continue on and get further education?
- Choosing a spouse
- Preparing to be a parent
- Helping your kids through their major life decisions and events
- Career direction
- Job Changes
- Large Purchases
- Future Financial needs
- Developing Generosity toward God and others through sacrificial giving
Using your Spiritual Gift(s)
- Determining your God-given spiritual gift(s)
- Choosing how to use your spiritual gift(s) to serve others (church, parachurch, marketplace, school, etc.)
The Benefit of Solitude with God Outdoors
If you’d like to learn more about why Jesus actually went outside, to the wilderness so often for his solitude times with God, here are a few posts that may encourage you. When you face a major life decision or event, the quiet solitude of the wilderness may be just the setting you need to help you seek God’s wisdom and guidance.