I do not have enough silence in my life.
Silence is not just the absence of sound, it is the place the mind and soul can rest.
Biblically we have the Sabbath, Sabbath Years, and Jubilee in the Law. Elijah hears God in the still small whisper among the chaos. Jesus so often retreats to a quiet and lonely place.
How much room do you make in your life for Silence?
Try this: Sit still for 5 minutes. No music. No distractions. No sound.
Many people find this hard, because in the silence their mind explodes with thoughts they cannot control. Like everything else, Silence will take practice.
Another way to practice Silence is incorporating it into a practice known as the Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading.
- Begin by praying aloud, not reading or analyzing or applying, a passage of scripture. One of the Psalms is a good place to start or even just a single verse.
- Let this transition into a time of silence. If you find the time of silence difficult fill it by praying something simple, a single word or phrase. Examples include: Abba, Father, Jesus, God,Lord, Savior, Master, “I confess you are God and I am not.”, etc. A good meditative prayer is the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Do this as long as it takes until you are ready.
- Read the text again slowly. Savor it like you would a particularly tasty bite of food. Listen for the word or short phrase that speaks to you.
- Take the word in and repeat it. Memorize it. Its OK if other things come up in your thoughts. It happens. Neither chase them nor think you have failed. Just focus on the word or phrase and keep going.
- Now react to the word to God. Just let whatever flow out of you. You need not be articulate, you need no flowery or formal language. Just pray as you like.
- Now listen. Just be Silent and Listen. Let go of your thoughts and listen to God. You might feel the need to return to the passage. If so do, as many times as you feel you should.
Do not try and analyze or judge this time. Some days it will feel meaningful and restful and some days it will not. You are not analyzing the quality of the action, you are practicing it as a way to be Silent before God.
Silence is healing. Silence is meaningful.
In Silence God speaks.
For those of my congregation, we are going to try incorporating some new elements in our Sunday worship in November as Pre-Advent preparation. We will start with a moment of silence and then move to some guided prayer. Some elements may become long term parts of the service.