Phones, Praying, and Being Connected

In Florida, it has been cool in the morning, but it warms up to the low 70s in the afternoon. Despite it being too cold some mornings to take Cayden on a walk in his stroller, it has been basically perfect. One afternoon, I was reading through a book I’ve been enjoying recently when I received a call on my cellphone. It was there in the Florida sunshine accompanied by a slight breeze that I missed being a child, not because I had responsibilities, but because fifteen plus years ago, I didn’t have a cellphone. Social media was just getting started with MySpace and YouTube, but we had dial-up, so that wasn’t really a big deal then. I miss being able to go outside, away from the housephone, away from the world and just exist. Roaming through the woods, discovering unknown places, chopping wood, cutting grass, all without the need to press that green button.

Of course, some of you are laughing because that was the case for most of your life, but bear with me here. Today, cellphones connect us at all times, and it can be such a blessing, but it is also a curse. Being plugged in constantly can be exhausting. Who liked my post? Any new messages? What is Sheila saying about essential oils today? Then there is the negative side: toxicity, people hiding behind keyboards while being rude, division, hate, and there is seemingly no break from it all.

If you don’t answer your phone, you get spammed with text messages and voicemails by concerned, but impatient friends. We are social creatures, and we need interaction and connection, but we also need Sabbath.

As I was reading through Luke this past week, it hit me just how much Jesus separated Himself from the crowds.

But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Luke 5:15–16

These moments of silence, prayer, and reflection were what Jesus needed to recharge His spiritual batteries so that He could deal with conflict, temptation, and the lack of shown by His disciples. We need to normalize putting our phones away and removing ourselves from the crowds to pray. Technology keeps the crowds cramped in our living rooms, seated at our dinner tables, and talking over our loved ones. Most tragically, the crowds of people we allow into our lives 24/7 separate us from God. They press in on every side and do not allow us time to pray, meditate, or reflect.

Make time for silence and solitude. Make it a habit to step away from it all and simply exist. Retreat to the wilderness to pray.

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