Jesus would often go to a desolate and lonely place to pray. This was a habit, to the degree where His disciples would know where to find Him if they needed Him. And these desolate places were Holy, a place of rest and union with the Father. We’re not told directly what transpired in most of these places (though the Mount of Olives, the Mount of transfiguration and the last days of His fasting in the wilderness give us small glimpses), but we can infer He spent time with the Father, praying in the Spirit to prepare for the day, week, or trials ahead. We often take time off for rest, but do we ever go to such Holy, desolate places?
Loved ones, how often do we set aside time for mere rest? Weekly? We should! Jesus and the Apostles did so! Daily? We should! Jesus would begin His day in rest, meeting with the Father! Hourly? We should! We should be connected to the God of the universe in prayer, even if our hands are busy. Rest is a Holy place in which we meet with God. Jesus chose desolate places because He knew that there would be no distractions, no calls to work, no entertainments to draw His attention from where it needed to be. Why should we, His followers, be any different? Instead of filling our time, how can we meet with God? Instead of planning a busy schedule to give ourselves and our families “experiences,” how can we experience the presence of God in rest and teach our loved ones to do the same? Adam walked with God in the garden in the cool of the day. Jesus walked with God everywhere by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is where I want to be: constantly in the presence of the Father, walking with Him in rest. A desolate place is a Holy place. Let us go to such places often.
And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.
That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.