By Rick Warren — 12/14/2023
“Very 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 (NIV)
The key to resisting stress is the very thing that many Christians do the least: spend time alone with God. And yet this spiritual practice is absolutely essential to building a resilient spirit and managing chronic stress.
Prayer is a great stress reliever. It’s a decompression chamber, where you can release the stress of keeping up appearances and living up to others’ expectations. It’s how you unload your burdens and admit you can’t carry them on your own. It’s where you are reminded that God is ready and willing to help you with every stressful thing you experience in life. It’s cathartic.
How do you develop a habit of spending time alone with God? Habits are developed through practice and repetition. It’s not a habit unless you do it over and over again, until it happens regularly and consistently.
Jesus developed spiritual habits. The Bible says in Luke 22:39 that it was Jesus’ habit to leave Jerusalem and go across the valley to the Mount of Olives to pray. And Mark 1:35 says, “Very 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” (NIV).
Jesus was convinced that, no matter how busy he was, he needed time alone with God to pray. Do you have any time like that in your life? Do you ever slow down and get quiet before God so you can reflect and be renewed? If you want to be a resilient person, then you have to develop the habit of spending time with God.
While word spread about Jesus and huge crowds of people were coming to hear him speak, Jesus made time alone with God a habit. The Bible says, “Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray” (Luke 5:15-16 NCV). If Jesus felt the need to frequently leave the crowd and get alone with God, then think about how much more we must need that.
Because noise often causes stress, you need to start your morning with God instead of with your phone, TV, radio, or social media feeds. Be still, be quiet, and be open to the work God wants to do in you make a habit of meditating on his Word and being in his presence.