As Pastors at Trinity Church, we felt that during this time of social distancing we wanted to find additional ways to connect with the church via an online community. In addition to your daily Bible reading we thought it would be helpful to host a space for a weekly church devotional where we can read, study, and prayerfully consider God’s Word together throughout the week. We pray this resource is a blessing to you.
Making the Most of Self-Isolation: Communing in the Secret Place
When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to Your Father in
private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6 NLT)
Our current existence of quarantine, self-isolation, and social distancing has brought on many emotional strains, and this is on top of the obvious health and economic concerns of our current state. This is because we are not used to being alone. We do not like it. For extraverts and introverts alike, we were created for social interaction, and we struggle when we are forced to go alone. We try to fill the void whenever there is silence, and we will fill the space with music, video games, and Netflix. And while a night in with a good movie on Netflix is a dream idea for most, it only works in moderation. But isolation overload is not what we ordered, but it is exactly what the doctor has prescribed.
For us as Jesus followers, we must first ask what God is trying to say to us during this time. The answer is: a LOT! God will have a lot to say about the world, your life, and everything in between. God will have something to say about those who are ill, the doctors and nursing staff, those whose jobs have been affected by the shutdowns, and so much more. But first, God will most likely say, “I’m glad we found some time to talk.” Because the reality is: most of us are busy. All the time. The most common answer to the question, “how are you?” is “busy”. At least it was. Now, that might have a chance to change.
But it was always God’s intention to have our attention.
Jesus, in His own life, always found time to pray. He would slip away often from the disciples and find a place to pray. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is described as having an extremely long day of ministry. Mark writes of Jesus, “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.” Jesus needed a quiet time.
And we need one too. But the problem is that we rarely slow down enough to do so. But life interrupted has a rude way of doing that for us.
And, if given a chance, we might find that some forced quiet time is actually a blessing.
In Matthew 6, Jesus is giving His most famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is speaking about prayer and He says,
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 ESV)
Jesus is telling us the importance of self-isolation! Well, not exactly. But He is saying that when we pray, we should be willing to have some quiet time with God, where it is just us and Him. Where, in an unhurried way, we can listen and speak to God.
If there was ever a time to practice this type of unhurried, focused prayer, it is now!
Recommendations for the week:
- Intentionally set aside time in your day to put away technology and sit with God. We will be tempted to fill our boredom with more and more technology, but instead, designate specific time to be with God.
- This week, spend time reading the full Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7) Take time to read it in different translations and see how the different translations impact you.
- Spend extra time reading Matthew 6, and considering what God is saying regarding prayer. Read the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6. Read it slow. Read each line and focus on what you think God is saying. How does the line “Give us this day our daily bread” impact you differently considering all that is going on?
We pray that this devotional will be a blessing to you.
*On a pastoral note: self-isolation can affect people differently, and some might really be struggling with feelings of depression. Take time to reach out to others and give them a personal message of encouragement. Additionally, if anyone reading is struggling and having personal feelings of depression, please reach out and let one of our pastors know.