Solitude and rest for ministers

In ministry we pour out hard to bring change into people’s lives.  We run long and hard for the sake of making the gospel known.  We stretch ourselves and persevere and seldom rest.  However, when we look at Jesus’ life He modeled a life of rest in the Father.

As ministers of the gospel we have much demand put on us on a daily basis.  Some of those demands are self-invited.  We push our bodies and work long hours.  We answer phone calls and minister to others while sometimes compromising our own spiritual walk.  As servants of a Most High King we should model what our King Jesus did and separate ourselves unto the Father for a period of time or short season of rest.

Resting in the Lord.  Society doesn’t teach it.  Workaholic mentalities don’t allow it.  But the Bible speaks of it.  One thing I have always admired about Jesus is that after ministering He went alone to be with the Father.

  • 14:23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
  • 26:42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”
  • 26:44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
  • Mark 14:39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words.

Early in my ministry I began this practice.  I would actually write in my calendar, “Kathy’s day off,” the next day following a ministry trip.  I would take the day off, sit on my living room floor with my worship music playing and bibles spread out for study.  I would worship, pray and study and get refilled and bask in His presence.

When you look at the Bible it doesn’t say how long or what was the time frame that Jesus went away.  It says He went away.  He knew the importance of being with the Father.  As a pastor, leader or someone who is always ministering are you taking time away?  Have you set aside and carved out time in your day, week or month to simply be alone with the Father?

We cannot keep pouring out without filling up.  God wants to instruct us.  He desires to give us fresh new ideas and concepts.  He longs to teach us and impart into us new gifting’s, anointing’s and revelation of His word.  We get caught up and so busy we don’t take time out for Him and the ways He wants to increase in our lives.  We can’t always hear among all the busyness, therefore sometimes we need to take time away so He can direct us.

When I started ministry I took the day after a trip off to get refilled, but now I also take the day off before a trip to be with Him.  I long to be with the Father, hear what He has to say to me and receive the warnings of the spiritual warfare I may be encountering.  When we go into a trip or conference prayed up it positions us to be in His presence and walk in the Spirit during the event.  We hear more clearly from Him.

It is vital to our spiritual life and future ministry that we are with Him.  Pastors leave the pulpit because of burn out.  Men and women leave the fivefold office because of being overworked and running 24/7.  Ministry leaders have been diagnosed at a high rate of having hyper tension because of the stress involved in running a ministry and the fatigued that happens to their physical bodies in the process.  Not only do we need rest and solitude for our spiritual filling, but also for our emotional and physical health.  We can’t keep running hard and long for the Lord if we don’t rest in His presence.

Resting, not working.  Resting is reading the Bible for your enjoyment and to learn from, not for sermon prep.  You can’t rest while researching for a sermon, than your mind is always going.  Resting, getting alone to be with Him can be scary for some.  Thoughts such as; “What will I do?” “I don’t like to be alone.” Or “How do I fill all that time?” will run through your mind.  Yes, it can arise different feelings when you think of being alone with the Lord, but it is great.  Whether I am alone in my living room for an entire day or slipping away to a cabin to have a quiet retreat with the Lord for a few days; it is great! The intimacy, impartation and peaceful rest that comes upon me is indescribable.  One of the greatest things about that time alone with Him is that it makes me a better mother, wife, friend and leader.  It refreshes my soul and feeds my spirit.  It quiets my mind down and refocuses me.

God is calling us to live biblically and that includes doing what Jesus did.  He desired us to model healing, deliverance, teaching, preaching and discipleship.  He had Jesus do these very things.  Jesus taught His disciples and us how to pray.  If He modeled all these things for us than I am sure He also desires for us to model how Jesus slipped alone to be with the Father if even for a few moments.

I encourage you this day to carve aside an hour or two where you shut off the phone, turn off the TV and sit in the presence of the Lord and allow Him to direct your time.  I hope you will be so blessed in those precious moments with your Heavenly Father that you decide to slip away for a day before ministering or even a couple of days to get a spiritual  retreat for yourself.  You can’t minister effectively to the Kingdom if you are burned out because of the Kingdom.  Therefore take care of you, so you can in return take care of others.  It is biblical to minister unto the Lord and rest in His presence!

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