How would you describe Jesus? When author Dallas Willard was asked to describe Jesus in a word, he said: “Relaxed.” When we see Jesus, we don’t see someone in a rush. And yet, most of us who follow him are constantly hurried.
It’s hard to know exactly what Jesus did in his time alone with the Father, but he certainly spent a lot of time with him. We can gain insight from God’s Word into what appears to be a regular practice for Jesus. Mark 1:35 says this about Jesus, “ Silence and solitude almost always go together. When we enter into a space alone, we can quiet ourselves before the Lord. And when we’ve done that, we are practicing the posture we see in Psalm 62:
“For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken….”
Professor Donald Whitney describes silence this way: “The discipline of silence is the voluntary and temporary abstention from speaking so that certain spiritual goals might be sought” (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, pg. 224).
How can we begin to welcome silence and solitude into our own lives? What is the goal of silence? What’s your goal for silence? Consider the fruits that can come from this great discipline: a prepared heart and an open mind, a malleable will and a fresh awareness of sin to confess. This humble posture grows in us an inclination to serve.
Perhaps the primary goal of our entire spiritual lives is to bring our real self before the real God. The practice of silence is a key way we can do that. For many of us, we recognize that we need to see God for the real God that he is. We want to be biblically saturated so that we understand him in his many attributes and give him the worship he is due. But so often, we struggle with knowing who our real self is; we struggle to be honest with where we’re at and who we are before God. Silence helps with that.
Practice One Minute of Silence
You can practice silence right now. Look at your watch or set a one-minute timer on your phone.
Present your real self before the real God. He knows you; he loves you; he is there. Just bring yourself. Take a couple deep breaths and settle in. Now be quiet and still before the Lord for one minute.
There you go. Done.
Likely, God did something slightly different in each person as they were silent for that one minute. For some, it may have been a battle to push out distractions. For others, it may have been a reminder of how you’re displeasing God in an area of your life. And for some, it may have been a gentle reminder that God is with you.
How Can I Welcome Silence in My Life?
Try following the acronym S.T.O.P.P.
SCHEDULE: Set aside time. Perhaps it’s two minutes before your devotions. Maybe it’s once per quarter for a couple hours on a given day. Commit to it. Show up. Turn off your phone.
TRY POSTURE: Keep a good posture. Sitting or standing or walking is good. You want to be alert. You might need to be still in a prayer posture, such as kneeling on the ground with your head down and hands open.
OFFLOAD YOUR DISTRACTIONS: Bring your distractions before the Lord. A pastor once said, “If your mind drifts away from Jesus a hundred times, that’s a hundred opportunities to bring it back to Jesus!”
Be PRESENT TO GOD: Allow God to say or lean or move how he wants. Be willing to respond in the moment and in the moments afterward.
PRAYER: After silence, you can transition to prayer. But remember, silence before him comes first. Then, if you feel it’s appropriate, transition to praying, reading, or journaling.