“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there." (Mark 1:35) A quick survey of the gospels will reveal that practicing solitude was a bedrock discipline for Jesus. He was insistent about building it into His soul. It's for this reason, among many others, that spiritual athletes must learn to build solitude into their schedules. If it doesn't make it into our schedules it will never move into our souls. Dallas Willard defined solitude this way, it's a purposeful withdrawal from interaction with other human beings, denying ourselves companionship and all that comes from conscious interaction with others. For ancient Christians, the desert was their place of solitude. It was in these lonely places that they learned to cling to Christ, to trust Him alone. The outcome of their long obedience of solitude was a life filled with God, with His goodness. Our lonely place may be an abandoned house, an old barn, a quiet forest, a remote lake, a walk-in closet, or an empty upstairs room. Wherever it is, it's crucial we find our lonely places and gently begin training with solitude.