"I very frequently used to retire into a solitary place, on the banks of Hudson's River, at some distance from the city, for contemplation on divine things and secret converse with God: and had many sweet hours there" - Jonathon Edwards
"I retired early this morning into the woods for prayer;…and was enabled to plead with fervency for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world.” - David Brainerd
"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." - Mark 1:35
Ok so I'm seeing a theme here. I know a little more digging will reveal a wealth of verses and quotes advocating the benefits of getting away on your own. I am always amazed how many times it turns out that some revolutionary christian spends a lot of their time, you guessed it, in the solitary place.
Without making any excuses I want to say only this, that with six billion people on the planet now, lonely places are harder to find. Certainly if you're like me and live in a city and don't have a car, it is pretty difficult to get away from people to somewhere safe to groan and cry out in fervent prayer.
The objections come to my mind immediately though. No one ever said it wouldn't be difficult, in fact the difficulty factor is probably a large reason why it is so effective. And although the population in Jesus' day was lower than ours, I don't have the problem of having crowds of people scrambling to see me at any opportunity.
I don't really know what I'm trying to say, besides that I think this is something we should take more seriously than we do. I think there is definitely something to be said for getting away to somewhere outside where we can simply be awed by God. And yes, I think the outside factor is important. Setting aside time in your room is all good, but I do reckon there's something about the outsideness that God honours and uses.