Spiritual Discipline 101: Silence
As I reflect on the importance of the spiritual discipline of silence, I remember this passage of scripture from Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) that says, “ This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, and quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” The part right there in the middle that says quietness and trust is your strength grabs me because sometimes, I forget just how much I am strengthened when I simply take the time to be quiet before the Lord. Can you relate? There is something to be said about the value of silence in a world that is constantly inundated with movement, noise, and activity. Just think about it, how many times in the course of your day are you interrupted in your own thoughts because of outside influences of sound? Have you ever heard the expression, “I can’t hear myself think?” Sometimes we have so much going on around us (and within us), it’s difficult to be still and hear our own voice, much less the voice of God. We live in a culture where there is a constant competition to gain our attention. Learning to infuse the spiritual discipline of silence into our lifestyle becomes necessary not only to gain clarity as we develop the skill of listening to discern the voice of God, but also to maintain the sanity of our soul. The ability to connect with ourselves and God in practicing this holy hush is a key component to living in harmony with the Spirit of God. So what does it mean to practice the presence of God? How can we be still and know that He is God? How do we steady ourselves to be present in his presence? The answer: We go silent. We must go silent frequently and on purpose. Being silent before God is necessary in creating space to focus on and hear God. One way we might do this is by meditating and journaling as we are silently listening for Him in our times of devotional fellowship. It is not always necessary for us to speak, but it is always necessary for us to be in a posture of listening. Silence is the one spiritual discipline that can so easily become interwoven with others. Although we can practice it in isolation, we can likewise intentionally intertwine it with other spiritual disciplines. Jesus often practiced silence with the spiritual discipline of solitude as He went away to remote locations to commune with the Father. Prayer is another spiritual discipline where we can incorporate silence. Understanding that prayer is a dialogue and never a monologue, we can use silence to anticipate an opportunity for God to speak to us in this conversation. Another discipline we can blend silence with is the spiritual discipline of worship. Yielding to the Holy Spirit through silence is a beautiful way of experiencing the glory of God’s presence. When we reverence God in this way, we gain greater revelation of how holy He is. Finally, the Word of God is a powerful spiritual discipline that should reflectively include silence as we read and study. Will you accept my challenge to utilize the spiritual discipline of silence every day of your life? I’m sure there are spiritual disciplines you are already practicing that you could easily include with silence. Even daily activities like going for a walk, driving in your car, doing laundry, taking a shower, cooking, cleaning, or washing dishes can all become invitations for you to intentionally practice the spiritual discipline of silence. Reject the rush of our society. Tune out the ever present background noise. Be still in His presence, reverence Him as you worship, and go silent.