Rhythms of Engagement and Withdrawal

My wife, Pam, and I enjoy going to concerts. The beauty of the music comes not only from the notes, but also from the spaces between the notes. The pulse of alternating sounds and silence — the rhythms — can make it a hand-clapping march or a soothing ballad.

God spoke of rhythms in Exodus when He gave instructions to guide the culture of the Israelites. There were rhythms of work and rest:

For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a day of Sabbath rest to the LORD (Exodus 35:2).

Jesus, as a Jew, would have observed the Jewish holidays, but out of His heart for the Father He also created His own “rhythm” of withdrawal:

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:16).

Looking at Jesus’ example, we notice that He withdrew often and regularly. Bringing the lesson to present-day, Pam and I try to make a habit to withdraw yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. This kind of consistency is well worth the conscious effort it takes to make it happen.

We also notice that Jesus removed himself from people and the busyness of life to go to “lonely places” (Luke 5:16). The previous verse explains, “The news about [Jesus] spread all the more, so that crowds of people came.” He was in high demand!

Sometimes we are able to physically withdraw, but other times, in the midst of busy days and pressing deadlines, it feels close to impossible. Through the years, I have come to see that withdrawal can be a short prayer pause in a conversation or a five-minute break at work. We can prioritize Christ by internally centering our hearts on Him throughout even the busiest of days.

Jesus withdrew regularly to solitary places to pray because He knew the importance of being with His Father—of connecting with Him.

What is your rhythm of withdrawal in order to connect with the Father and center your heart on Him? It is certainly music to His ears!

To read more from Doug, visit his blog at dougnuenke.com.

Post by Doug and Pam Nuenke -

National Leadership


  1. Prayer is the greatest gift; time to allow the beautiful rhythm of the Holy Spirit to reconnect us with our Creator and Lord once again.

  2. Did Jesus withdrew from the observance of the Sabbath for which He is the Lord?
    Kindly provide references in your response.
    Happy and blessed new year.

  3. I like the word rhythm. It gives me the concept of spiritual movement. The church yearly calendar is somewhat an example of spiritual rhythm. Hopefully, the spiritual movements going on in Africa, Asia, and South America will arrive more and more in the United States.

  4. I appreciate your reminder to do this. Now, I would love to hear you expound upon this. What does the withdrawing look like yearly? I assume the withdrawing daily is like the quiet time reading your Bible and praying. The withdrawal weekly is spending Sunday focusing on the Lord and His Word as we fellowship with other believers.

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