If You Had Three Years to Change the World…

If you had three years to change the world, would you spend as much time away alone with God as Jesus did? If I knew I had three years to change the world I know I would be tempted to never slow down and solitude would be pretty far down on the priority list. Not so with Jesus…

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”
– Matthew 14:13

35Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and
went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
– Mark 1:35

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
– Luke 5:16

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
– Luke 6:12

“Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”
– John 6:15

36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39Going 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.”

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

42He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
– Matthew 26:36-43

There are even more verses if you count in the times Jesus was just with his disciples, praying in private or in solitary places. I am sure all that is mentioned in scripture is not even the tip of the iceberg of how often Jesus found alone time with God. The take home message I got from this is that if I can’t find time to be alone with God in prayer I might as well give up keeping myself so busy and make sure to include what matters most.

About mattdabbs
I am a minister, husband, and father. My wife and I live and minister in Saint Petersburg, Florida. My primary ministry responsibilities include: small groups, 20s and 30s, involvement, and adult education.

5 Responses to If You Had Three Years to Change the World…

  1. Real answer, no. I think I have several more years to live and I still struggle with taking time alone with God. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Brilliant! It just emphasises how much I try to do things under my own steam – and I know I need more than three years for that!

  3. Jim Martin says:

    Matt, a very good post. Nice to see these texts together in one place and is such a reminder of just how often that Jesus did spend time in solitude and silence before God.

  4. Brent says:

    Thanks for reminding me of this. I loose sight of it at times. It is by the power of the Spirit that the world was changed. The power of the Spirit and prayer are related. When we see a life of prayer . . . we see the Spirit at work. When we see the Spirit at work . . . we see a strong prayer life. Jesus never lost site of this as illustrated by the verses you have quoted. The only way Jesus could change the world in three years was to rely on prayer to bring down the power of the Spirit. He did not rely on himself. He couldn’t have done it any other way. And the only way I am going to reach the potential that the Father sees in me is if I find the same link that Jesus had with the Father, and ask for the measure of the Spirit that can be given to me. Thanks again. I really like the things you post.

  5. Great reminder – thanks!

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