This weekend I realized that after almost eight years living in Colorado, I have left the lion’s share of our beautiful state unexplored. So with the beginning of a new summer, I’m resolved to see and enjoy more of Colorado’s grandeur. It’s easy to take for granted beauty you see every day. This summer, I’m going to do my best to enjoy God’s creation, primarily by taking more hikes.
Rocky Mountain National Park, a great place to hike!
I believe Jesus liked to hike and not just because He walked everywhere He went. Before REI, The North Face and CamelBak were outfitting the masses, Jesus was hiking alone in the Judean wilderness, a habit He maintained throughout His ministry. Luke records Jesus often, “would withdraw to desolate places and pray” (Luke 5:16). Mark also records, “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” (1:35).
Unlike many hikers today, our Lord wasn’t looking for a good calorie burn or checking off another of Colorado’s 53 14ers (sorry if you don’t live in Colorado). Jesus hiked to create space and time for fellowship with God. In fact, it seems it was one of His favorite things to do.
I’ve been working to cultivate this habit in my own life. I’ve been taking time to go for solo hikes with no particular agenda except being alone with God. Sometimes I’ll head to a park or a designated trail. I’m learning to enjoy getting out into open spaces and making time to hear from and talk to God. It hasn’t always been an easy habit to establish, but I always come back from these times refreshed and rejuvenated. The Lord has even occasionally spoken to my heart right there on the trail.
There’s something about being outside and alone that makes it easier to pray. I sometimes start with prayers of worship and thanksgiving. I’ll remember back through my life and thank God for the things He has done and the people He’s brought. Then, I’ll begin to make requests and create quiet space for Him to speak. I sometimes read the Scriptures and pray them over my life as well.
Again, I’m not trying to provide some secret recipe for the perfect solo time with God. That’s not the way it works. The point is creating space to be together with God. Jesus did this. He habitually withdrew from His disciples and the people to fellowship with the Father. As Christ’s disciples, we should also create space for prayer in desolate places. If Jesus made it His habit, we should make it ours.
Admittedly, we don’t have to get out into nature to have a great quiet time. But with summer upon us, many will find it satisfying to go for a hike and seek Christ in the very same way He sought His Father.
Have you ever enjoyed a special time with God in creation? Where were you?