Silence. Did she say silence!?
Not sure about you, but when I cry out to God, I have a tendency to use my own words for many situations. "Lord, hear my prayer....." You can fill in the blank. And while speaking our prayers is indeed a spiritual practice, this week invites a different approach.
As you settle in to read scripture this week, prepare you heart and mind with a deep breath and a few moments of silence before you even begin. Read the scripture at least twice and then...silence. What do you hear? No, I don't mean your cell phone or the distractions outside your window. What does the scripture say to you today as you rest silently with God. No reason to set a timer (unless you need that accountability, you can start with a minimum of 5 minutes and try not jump up to check your messages when your mind wanders - as it likely will). Just breathe deep and come back to a word from the scripture if you need an anchor or centering point for your silence. We are human, find grace for yourself in this practice.
By the way, this is not a "hurry up and check it off your list" spiritual practice. Savor the silence in your quiet time and begin to notice how you may be able to incorporate silence in to various parts of your day. Consider: incorporating times of silence in the car by clicking off the radio or podcast, have your morning coffee or lunch break alone outdoors in nature, complete the chores of your household as a silent prayer of service. Does intentional silence in these scenarios help you listen for God?
Practicing silence does not necessarily mean there is no noise around you. Instead, practicing silence means letting go of the noise and restlessness in our lives. Befriending silence means drawing nearer to God and listening so that we may be refilled by God. The gift of silence is not simply for ourselves but for those around us as well. What noise can you let go of this week?
At least one day this week, your challenge is to be intentional about finding silence as you listen for God. Begin with silence before and after your scripture readings and then carry the gift of silence into other areas of your life. How is silence easy? How is it hard?
How does silence refuel your soul? How is God speaking to you in the silence?
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson,
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC