Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him
Psalm 37:3-7 (ESV)
In Psalm 37:7a, Scripture directs us to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” It also calls us to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a).
Dallas Willard calls silence and solitude the two most radical disciplines of the Christian life. Similarly, Henri Nouwen wrote that “without solitude it is almost impossible to live a spiritual life.”
Silence is an unfamiliar, and potentially uncomfortable, practice for most of us. We live in a culture that is full of noise. Though it might be a struggle at first, learning to sit in silence, waiting for God, ushers us into His restful presence and affects how we live our lives.
Extend grace to yourself as you engage with God in silence. This practice will likely take practice. Be patient. Your part is to show up. God is already present and waiting to spend time with you. We simply offer our time, choosing to make space for God in silence, without expectation of results or revelation. (Though we may receive them.)
Let’s practice Silence together:
Find a quiet place. Somewhere comfortable. For many people, sitting with your back straight, feet on the floor, shoulders relaxed is a good posture for silence. Some do better lying down. Still others may prefer to engage in silence while doing a stretching exercise or taking a walk. Experiment with different ways to find the best way for you and your body to enter silence with God.
Set a timer. Setting a timer keeps you from watching the clock; it allows you to forget the time and settle gently into the quiet. (If you are new to silence, start with 1-3 minutes. If silence is already a practice for you, choose your own time. Consider increasing your normal amount of silence, either length or frequency.)
Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide and guard your time of silence. (The goal of silence with God isn’t to “empty our minds” but to fill it. It is an intentional detachment from the noise and confusion around us in order to have a richer attachment to God.) As you invite Him, trust the Holy Spirit to take you into a deeper intimacy with God.
Breathe slowly. When we pay attention and slow our breathing, it actually lets our bodies and minds know we are becoming quiet and still. It helps us prepare to be attentive to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Be with Jesus. Relax and enjoy His presence. Thoughts will rise, things on your to do list, memories, emotions… Don’t feel bad or give up. Don’t worry you are doing this wrong. When they enter the silence, release them into His care and quiet your mind again.
Pray. When your timer goes off, end your time of silence with a prayer of gratitude and commit the rest of your day to God.
Consider engaging with God through this practice of silence.