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Draw Near Disciplines - Silence and Solitude

Draw Near Disciplines - Silence and Solitude

July 24, 2018

Spiritual Silence - Weird or Worth It?

We can’t hear God speak very well if we are always talking. Silence is essentially a fast from speaking, an intentional time of peace. But it isn’t just external speaking that we need to calm, it is also about calming the internal thoughts and worries that constantly run through our heads. The phrase “Quiet Time” isn’t simply because we are reading and praying, we need to spend some time in the quiet to hear God speak to us.

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is running for his life. He ultimately hides away in a cave on a mountain. Soon, the Lord speaks to him and tells him to go outside. Then this happens:

“...a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper… And behold, there came a voice to him…”


Elijah had to be quiet and listen carefully to hear the voice of God. Sometimes we need to do the same thing, but it is hard when we are talking, and everyone around us is talking, and there is so much activity and noise.

Jesus frequently separated himself and his disciples from the crowds of people that followed him. Before the crucifixion, Jesus isolated himself in the garden to pray. Monks and Nuns throughout the ages (and even to the present day) have considered silence and solitude as virtues worthy of daily practice.

Words are often our way of just filling time. Sometimes our words don’t even have a purpose, just talking for the sake of talking. Instead of talking to try to be funny, intelligent, or personable - what if we let God speak to us during those times and let Him turn us into something worthwhile.

It isn’t always feasible to be silent when we have jobs, families, and required social interaction, but that is okay. Intentional silence, even for 5 or 10 minutes can cut like a beam of light through the noise and chaos of our daily lives.

Here are some silence and solitude challenges to get you going: give one a try this week.

  • Set aside a couple of hours one day to be completely silent. If you need to, tell your family or roommates what is going on, and ask them to give you some space. Spend this time focused on God and rest in his presence.
  • If your family can be convinced to get involved, try to eat a meal together in complete silence. The monks at Mepkin Abbey in Charleston, South Carolina eat every meal in complete silence, every day. It takes some getting used to, but you might just feel rejuvenated and refreshed after you are done eating, even more than usual.
  • Pick one day and try to limit the amount of speaking that you do. Only speak when necessary, and only for as long as necessary. It is possible to do this without being rude, and having this constraint may make you aware of how much you talk when it isn’t really that important.



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