Be Silent Before God

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Being silent before God teaches us to rest in Him and enjoy His presence. It gives us an opportunity to meditate on who he is – to stop focusing on ourselves and our own activities. 
    ...let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20
Occasionally when we sit before God in silence we hear Him speak through thoughts or remembered Bible passages. Solitude is a spiritual discipline.
In her book Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton describes solitude as a place, both a place in time and a physical place. She says, “solitude is a place inside myself where God’s Spirit and my spirit dwell together in union.”
Solitude is the most basic spiritual discipline. Silence and solitude are very connected.
Silence = letting go of our inner distractions.
Solitude = letting go of our outer distractions.
It is often hard for us to totally unplug and listen to God. Our culture discourages solitude. Culture wants us to always be doing. I suffer from “frenetic doing.”  It’s hard to unplug. These are some of my “noisy” distractions:
·         Phones
·         Technology
·         Email
·         Friends
·         Family
·         TV
·         Computer
·         Radio
·         interruptions

Exodus 14: 13-14 tells us The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still. What in this verse comforts you?

Let’s look at how busy Jesus was. He had more to accomplish in 3 years of ministry than any of us will accomplish in a lifetime. He was changing the world. Jesus consistently found time for solitude and encouraged even commanded his disciples to experience solitude. Imagine the daily life of Jesus for the 3 years of his ministry. He taught, healed, preached, traveled, told stories, dealt with demons, dealt with Satan, was surrounded by crowds of people, settled disagreements among his followers. It was often very challenging for him to get away.
  • He spent 40 days in the desert alone before launching his ministry. (Matthew 4:1-11)
  • He spent the night alone in the hills the night before he chose the 12 disciples. (Luke 6:12)
  • When he learned of John the Baptist’s death, he left in a boat to a “lonely place apart.” (Matthew 14;13)
  • After feeding the 5,000 he went into the hills by himself. (Matthew 14:23)
  • After healing many people, he went to an isolated place to pray. (Mark 1:35)
  • When the 12 returned from preaching and healing, Jesus instructed his disciples, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31)
What are some steps into solitude?
Be intentional. Set aside a time and place and spend at least 10 minutes in silence and solitude. Assume a comfortable posture. Select a scripture verse to focus your mind. Then choose a simple prayer to express your need for God.
Be aware of your body, mind and soul. Know when you are weary in body, mind, and soul. Recognize your need to rest in God’s presence. Take deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. Ask God to quiet your mind. Confess to God anything that is weighing on your soul.
Resist distractions. Commit your regular time to God.
Listen for God’s voice. The more quiet time you spend with God, the more you’ll learn to recognize his voice. As you spend this time, pay attention to how God speaks to your spirit. The Holy Spirit will give you comfort and direction only as you’re able to hear it.
Bless others. Use the love God shows you in your solitude to be a blessing to others. Speak and act in love as you serve others.

Prayer: Ask God to quiet your mind. Confess to God anything that is weighing on your soul. Spend time in silence and active listening.

To hear my related lesson on Habakkuk, click here.Habakkuk 2


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