Finding Zeal in Lonely Places

Categories: Devotional,Luke,Romans

If we cannot recognize the value of simply being alone with God, without doing anything, we gouge the heart out of Christianity.” –Brennan Manning

Lent may be a good time to check on your level of spiritual energy.

At one point the Apostle Paul writes, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Rom. 12:11).

The actor, poker champion, and tennis player, Vincent Van Patten once went through a time when he craved physical energy. Before any big tennis match he would drink almost 20 cups of coffee. After all, Van Patten said, caffeine was legal.

But, can 20 cups of coffee whip up spiritual zeal? Might that zeal instead come from 20 prayers? Could it come, more likely, from just one?

Jesus, when he wanted to talk with God in prayer, the Bible tells us that he went away to lonely places (Luke 5:16). There is no record of Jesus’ talking to God while walking through the marketplace, or waiting to catch a ride. Jesus wasn’t into that kind of time management. The Son of God, the one who had the closest relationship with his Heavenly Father of anyone on this earth, did not make it his habit to mix a daily routine with a life of prayer.

I know a young couple, though, both Washington DC lawyers, who love to mix their daily life and prayer. They start each morning that way. The two pray while driving to work and then again while waiting at the elevator. That is how they maximize their time with God. They love how prayer perfectly lends itself to multi-tasking.

Jesus, however, did not maximize his time with the Father that way. When he prayed, he gave God his sole attention. Jesus sought out places where he could pray with fully focused concentration.

I wonder if that exclusive approach to meeting God in prayer is what gave Jesus his zeal.

If so, that might be something we want to Celebrate.

Author: Toby Larson

Toby Larson leads Celebration International. He is a husband and father of 5. Whether he's teaching, hitting tennis balls, sailing a Hobie, serving in Asia, skiing on water or snow, Toby is passionate about the love of God and the love of life. Read more ...