It is in silence that we release and find relief as we create space for God.
And let us note! Silence differs from prayer. I don’t know about you, but sometimes my prayer time can feel a little like work when the needs of family and friends bear down on my heart and my knees. Sometimes in prayer, we can fill ourselves with our own thoughts, ideas images and feelings. Our own ideas of how things should be.
But if we invite the Lord in to speak to us, without reciting our needs, wants, and desires, He will speak.
We know that God is infinitely patient.
He will not push himself into our lives.
He knows the greatest thing he has given us is freedom. If we habitually operate from our own reasoning, he will respectfully keep silent.
Solitude in silence is about showing up and letting God do the rest. It’s like taking a jar of river water and letting it sit still, eventually the law of gravity causes the sediment to settle to the bottom so that the water becomes clear. When we sit silently in God‘s presence, the sediment that is swirling in our souls begins to settle.
We don’t have to say or do anything but show up and trust that he will reveal himself to us. In the silence, we simply listen.
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says “Though silence sometimes involves the absence of speech, it always involves the act of listening—to simply refrain from talking without a heart for listening, is not silence.”
I would like to present 4 things to consider as we embrace silence in this new beginning of 2022.
- A sacred PLACE. Find a secret place, a sacred place. I personally have a place that is designated for time alone with God, and I have a prayer chair. Sometimes, symbolic physical items help to make the space sacred. Maybe for you it is a candle, a prayer shawl, or simply your Bible.
- Set A TIME. Set apart a special time in your own personal life where experience a time of silence and rest in the presence of God. A time set apart to give God your undivided attention to establish a rhythm of entering and creating a sanctuary in your heart for God to speak. There are no predefined rules or amounts of time to devote here. Determine the amount of time that you set as your goal and remember to make it modest. Start with smaller even 10 minutes of determined time of silence that is dedicated to hearing from God will grow and build in your heart. Mother Teresa says “settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself”.
- A JOURNAL Like Mary, determine this moment of silence to be a place of pondering some things that are shared only between you and God. A simple notebook or journal can catch those thoughts that cause you to wander or worry.
Sometimes the simplest way to begin your time of silence is by uttering a few words or a phrase like “here I am God”, or “come Lord Jesus”, or “help me Jesus”. These are settling words to put yourself into a position of silence and acknowledge that you were there for God and God alone to review
Psalm 62:5 (ESV)
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
Will you pray with me?
Lord, here I am. Teach me how to be silent. Still my anxious thoughts, my harried activities, and my frantic race. Please hold back the barriers and the projects that get in the way of my devotion to silence before you. May you infuse me with the desire and the dedication to devote myself to meditation so that you may speak to me, and I may hear your voice.