Solitude vs meditation

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Thu, 18 Aug 2022 Source: Samuel Y. Xenyo

Solitude refers to “the state of being alone.” It must be noted that being alone is not the same as “loneliness” and neither is it the absence of people. Let us look at the practical examples of Adam and Jesus Christ to strike the clear-cut difference between being alone and loneliness.

In Genesis 2:18, 23, “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him... Then the man said, ‘This, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.'"

“This at last” phrase in Adam’s statement is indicative of the fact that Adam seemed to be feeling lonely without knowing it until the woman (Eve) was brought to him. Jesus on the other hand was alone but was not feeling lonely because God the Father was with him according to John 16:32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”

Solitude could be considered to a very large extent as self-isolation to have time and communion with God or the Holy Spirit. Solitude is therefore a primary condition for starting meditation but the two are not the same. This is because you cannot meditate without being silent but you can sometimes observe solitude without being silent especially if your solitude demands prayer.

Even so, meditation involves “singular engagement of the mind” (Joshua 1:8) whereas solitude can be observed in two dimensions: mental and physical. Mental solitude can be observed even when you live among people but physical solitude will surely cause you to separate or isolate yourself from others in a solitary place.

It is worth noting that loneliness involves “inner emptiness” which is the feeling of rejection or neglect by others as solitude is about “inner plenty feeling,” being alone with God so you are not really lonely.

Solitude can take the form of “personal quiet time” but should not be mistaken for family morning devotion unless the morning devotion allows individuals to have time with God alone. I personally used to be a noise-making person in prayer when I was growing up as a Christian but now, I do a lot of my communications with God in solitude form usually at night or at dawn. In this article, my main focus will be on solitude. I pray you continue reading.

Check your understanding of the concepts related to solitude by reading the following scriptures carefully:

1. Job 1:5 “When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning, he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.”

2. I Samuel 1:19 “The entire family got up early the next morning and went to worship the LORD once more. Then they returned home to Ramah. When Elkanah slept with Hannah, the LORD remembered her plea.”

3. II Chronicles 29:20-21 “Early the next morning King Hezekiah gathered the city officials together and went up to the temple of the LORD. They brought seven bulls, seven rams, seven male lambs, and seven male goats as a sin offering for the kingdom, for the sanctuary, and for Judah. The king commanded the priests, the descendants of Aaron, to offer these on the altar of the LORD.”

I believe it is obvious for one to conclude that the text from the book of Job was on solitude. The second text from the book of Samuel was about family devotion which we can also refer to as “morning devotion.” The third text from the book of Chronicles is on group or communal fellowship under the leadership of a king.

Even though it is very good we observe family or morning devotions in our homes regularly as well as group fellowship or church fellowship, we should not downplay the value of solitude which is a personal relationship with God. Many great men and women in the Bible encountered God in supernatural ways through solitude.

Watch these words from Jesus Christ: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.

Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6). Today’s Christianity is full of this kind of hypocrisy Jesus talked about.


1. To commune with God (solitude for transformation):

Old Testament examples – In Genesis 32:24ff, Jacob encountered God and wrestled with the angel until his name was changed from Jacob (a supplanter or secret thief) to Israel (Prince of God or him who wrestles with God). In Exodus 33:7,11 Moses created a tent outside the main camp of the Israelites in the wilderness so anyone who wanted to make a request to the LORD could go there and do it.

Let us delight in going to the house of the Lord (the Chapel) for a solitary encounter with God like Hannah did in the Temple and her barrenness was taken away. Furthermore, Moses was also asked by God to go to the mountain (Sinai/Horeb) alone, and there Moses encountered Him.

According to Exodus 34:1-35; he was asked to carry along two plates of stones to write the ten commandments on them. The lesson here is that you need to observe your solitude with a Bible, diary or jotter, and pen or pencil so you can take note of things God will drop in your spirit.

New Testament examples According to Mark 1:35 “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.” This practice could be considered a regular lifestyle of Jesus based on the following references: (Luke 5:16 & Matthew 14:13,23). Anytime Jesus wanted to pray, he avoided praying just for the pride of it (Matthew 6:5).

2. To seek guidance/direction/encouragement/protection: In taking very major decisions or steps, Jesus always prayed to his Father before doing so. Reference could be made to Matthew 6:12-13 “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God.

When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” Jesus prayed all night (vigil) prayer before selecting his first twelve disciples. He did a similar thing before his death on the cross (Luke 22:39-44).

3. For one to be empowered or effective in service: According to Luke 4:42-43, Jesus practiced solitude in order to be effective in doing his Father’s service “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.

The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also because that is why I was sent.”


1. It leads to deeper communion with God and the Holy Spirit.

2. It takes one away from the worries or the cares of life (Mat. 4:19; Lk. 10:39).

3. It exposes the believer to the glory of God as seen in the story of Moses (Exo. 34:30).

4. It exposes our idols and takes us away from sinful practices.

5. It also promotes discipline (it takes one with a high spiritual discipline to practice solitude).


1. Solitude does not always require silence. Sometimes you have to pray all alone so you cannot be silent. It looks as if Jesus prayed all alone more than praying with the disciples.

2. Solitude requires planning. You have to decide where (choose a place), when (choose your time carefully), and how you are going to observe your solitude. Jesus observed solitude at dawn, in the night, in the wilderness, and sometimes on the mountain.

3. Solitude requires time. You must make time for it on daily basis and consistently.


A. Let your Bible be by your side anytime you are observing solitude.

B. Go with your devotional guide if you have any.

C. Carry your diary or jotter to record things God will drop on your mind or in your spirit.

D. Remember also to have a pen or pencil by your side to write things down.

God bless you for reading.

Columnist: Samuel Y. Xenyo