“If we want to connect with God, we’d be wise to travel at God’s speed.”
All this week, begin in silence, turning your attention to God. God’s clear promise is to be with us always. Most of us still find it challenging to stay aware of and connected to that reality. Brother Lawrence spoke of “practicing” the presence of God in the hope that awareness of God’s presence and companionship would increasingly pervade his every waking moment. As you “practice” awareness of God with you, use your body and your surroundings to help you. Opening your hands (palms up) in your lap can signal receptivity. Lighting a candle can remind you of the Invisible Other, God in the room with you. Enjoy God as God enjoys you.
(The Lord) makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
Pastor Brad in his message last Sunday spoke about the restoring gifts of solitude and silence that Elijah received during his 40 day journey to Mt. Horeb. (To hear the message, follow this link) Solitude and silence are in short supply in our context. This is true in part because of the norm of frenetic pace to our days and in part because few of us are sure we want to hear the thoughts that might come when we are alone and quiet. What can sound like a gift in concept intimidates us in practice.
Here’s the thing, though. As Rich Villodas writes in The Deeply Formed Life, “If we want to connect with God, we’d be wise to travel at God’s speed.” God does not rush. God has no need to rush. God has time and capacity for all things. Notice the context of the famous section of Psalm 46 about being still (the close “cousin” of solitude and silence). The Psalmist is recounting God’s competence for any battle, God’s presence and protection. It’s a comparable context to the image of the mother for the weaned child. The child rests quietly because she trusts in the mother’s heart of love and ability to provide.
In these moments of solitude and silence, read the verses from the Psalms again. Read them slowly. Read them multiple times. Let their images come to life in your mind’s eye. Notice how you feel as you read them. Are you drawn in? Are you agitated? Are you unsure?
Talk with God as you would talk with a friend about your response to the invitation to solitude and silence. Listen for any sense you have of what God wants to say to you today. Sometimes how you sense God postured toward you and what tone you sense God using with you is as important as any particular word you can make out from God.
Bonus Activity ☺
Get your art supplies out (simple paper and pen work!) and draw your sense of yourself and God in the silence together. You could draw how it feels today and/or you could draw your prayer, what you hope to experience more deeply. (For those who feel “art challenged”: Remember you don’t have to share this with anyone...unless you choose to!)
Scripture wisely instructs us to make the spiritual journey with others for the help and support of companionship. As you invest time in personal reflection, invest also in communal connection. Join our 12 PM Zoom Challenge Gathering today (and everyday, Monday - Friday) and/or with your household, your small group, a friend,...
- Experiment with “quiet and alone time” as a household, including households with kids! Talk together about the value of being quiet and being able to be alone, and then do it together, side-by-side. Set a timer. You could do 5 minutes. You could do an hour. Especially if kids are involved, you’ll want to suggest activities that they can do alone to set them up for the time. Be sure to talk about the experience together when you finish.
Join us on Zoom: Monday - Friday at 12 PM
Meeting ID: 818 5542 9409