In May 1984 Billy Graham spoke at Westminster Chapel. His
subject was “loneliness.” He took his text from a strange verse; Psalm 102:6,
in the King James Version, in which the psalmist likens himself to an owl in
the desert. Graham definitely hit a nerve! There are so many people today who
Loneliness is a painful condition, a dreaded state that,
given the choice, most people would do anything to avoid. It is enforced
There is obviously a significant difference between enforced
solitude and chosen solitude. Some of us appreciate the bliss of solitude.
Jesus needed to get away from the crowds, and there are some who, by nature,
are loners; they love it that way. My friend Robert Amess calls himself “the
complete loner,” but he is not lonely.
Enforced solitude is another matter. It may be that you are
confined to one place or one room. Or, in the case of social isolation, you
have few or no friends. “Webster’s Dictionary” says that “loneliness” means
“sad from being alone.” It occurs when you have no one to share your hurts or
You may spend time with people, and that is good as far as
it goes. But you are sad the whole time because you know that, in a few
moments, in a very little while, they will go back to their homes — some to
their wives, some to their husbands. You, on the other hand, will go back to your
lonely place and turn on the television.
If this is your situation, it’s possible that loneliness is
your thorn in the flesh, something uncomfortable that God has ordained for your
benefit. The apostle Paul had such a thorn, though we don’t know for certain
what it was. He wrote, “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these
surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a
messenger of Satan, to torment me” (2 Cor. 12:7, NIV). The devil will use your
thorn to torment you as well, but remember: There is a purpose in everything
that happens, and God Himself takes the responsibility for it.
Also, you can take comfort in the fact that there ARE
advantages to loneliness. One is that you have time to pray! In fact, God could
be allowing the loneliness because He loves your company and wants you all to
Himself. This is your moment to do two things: (1) to become an intercessor and
(2) to grow in intimacy with God beyond anything you dreamed possible.
Another value of loneliness is that you become more
sympathetic toward others. That is one of the main purposes of any trial. It
produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings. You will be able to
identify and sympathize with another person in the same situation. Pray you will
never forget what it was like, should this thorn be withdrawn from your flesh.
Yet another blessing of loneliness is that you become more
aware of the presence of Jesus. I don’t say that it totally takes the place of
friends, but His presence compensates. You get to talk to Him as a friend.
A real value of loneliness, especially if you are single, is
that you have the freedom to serve the Lord more fully. You are able to take on
more ministry-related responsibilities (see 1 Cor. 7:32-33).
Finally, when you are lonely, you learn to worship and
praise. It is easy to worship when all is going well. But do you want to know
something that pleases God? Do you know what He likes? It is when you worship
Him, and you don’t feel like it. You praise Him, and you don’t feel like it –
you just do it! Oh, He likes that; it honors Him.
There was a purpose in the thorn Paul had to bear, and if
your thorn is loneliness, know that it was lovingly and deliberately designed
just for you. If Paul’s thorn in the flesh was the best thing that happened to
him – and it was – so too with you and me. Instead of complaining or getting
angry with God, begin to see the value in your loneliness – and praise Him for
Adapted from “The Thorn in the Flesh” by R.T. Kendall,
copyright 2004. Published by Charisma House. In this book, the author discusses
many different types of “thorns in the flesh” and encourages the reader to
believe that they are designed by God for our benefit. To order a copy, click
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF: 2/20/2012
This week praise God no matter what circumstances you are
facing. Thank Him for the
situation and tell Him in faith that you know all things will work together for
your good because you love Him and are called for His purpose. Declare it in spite of any doubts or
feelings to the contrary.
Embrace Him as the One who will never leave or forsake you.
Praise Him until your heart connects with His and you feel His comfort, joy and
strength energizing you once again. Continue to pray protection over Israel,
perseverance for the persecuted church, and boldness for believers around the
world. Pray that our churches would seek God’s face, join in united prayer and
fasting for the nation, and reach out in love to those who desperately need to
know our God. Rom. 8:28; Heb. 13:5-6
To enrich your prayer
life and learn how to strategically pray with power by using appropriate
scriptures, we recommend the following sources by Apostle John Eckhardt: Prayers that Rout Demons, Prayers that Bring Healing, Prayers that Release Heaven on Earth and Prayers that Break
Curses. To order any or all of these click here.