"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16
The Purpose Driven Life is one of the best selling books of all time, with more than 25 million copies sold. Almost all of us have heard of it and many of us have read it.
Recently I heard an interview with the book’s author Rick Warren. Although numerous subjects were covered in this wide-ranging interview, I was intrigued to hear him briefly describe the daily schedule he followed while writing The Purpose Driven Life:
"Twelve hours a day for nearly seven months I was writing this book. Every morning I would get up at 4:30 a.m., go to my study, sit down at my computer and begin writing. At about Noon I would take a break to eat lunch, usually with some others, and by 1:00 p.m. I’d be back at the computer until at least 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon."
As I listened to that portion of the interview and heard Rick Warren describe his writing schedule, I was reminded of the words of Stephen Covey:
"Private victory precedes public victory."
Warren’s book has blessed millions, including many of us, but not without him paying a significant price – the equivalent of more than seventy 24-hour days in total seclusion – while writing this one book.
It would be safe to say that everyone reading this article wants to be used by God, and we want our lives to count. But at what cost? What price are we willing to pay?
Jesus is certainly an example of the "private victory precedes public victory" principle. He spent 40 days alone in the wilderness winning the battle with Satan before launching His public ministry (Matthew 4:1-11). His ministry-filled days would often begin before daybreak as He would slip away to private places to be alone with His Father (Mark 1:35-37; Luke 5:16). It would be safe to say that one of the most significant keys to Jesus’ public effectiveness was the private time He spent alone with His Father.
However, it’s important to know that it involves much more than seclusion. In that same interview, Rick Warren said, "Often while writing I would realize that tears were flowing down my face." He did not know if the book would be a success, but he knew it was anointed.
Hours in seclusion, all by themselves, are not the key. However, putting ourselves in a position where we can give God our full attention provides an opportunity for God to do amazing things through us.
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