“Off to a solitary place.” Mark 1:35
Most species of sandpipers are gregarious birds. During migration, they often appear in large groups that may contain hundreds of birds of several different species. As the word sandpiper implies, their preferred habitats are sandy beaches and mudflats. Unlike other members of their family, Solitary Sandpipers are always seen singly or in small groups. They prefer quiet backwaters and shallow ponds or stream edges where they can generally be by themselves. This solitary lifestyle is how the birds acquired their name. Solitary Sandpipers are dark, medium-sized shorebirds with prominent white eye rings and olive-green legs.
Today’s Bible verse, “Off to a solitary place,” was spoken of Jesus during the early time of His ministry: “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). Three things stand out in this passage: It was early; Jesus was by Himself; He prayed. Many other references to prayer in the Bible also contain those three features. In the Book of Lamentations is this admonition to pray in the wee hours of the morning: “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children” (Lamentations 2:19). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed us concerning personal, private prayer: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:6). What is clear from these and other Bible passages is that we are to PRAY. We are to get up and pray early, before we begin our day. We are to pray by ourselves in a “solitary place” where we can be free from distractions as we pour out our hearts to Him. We are, as Paul said, to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Have you found that solitary time and place to pray?