Day 8: An Introduction to Silence and Stillness
Monday, February 14, 2022
Last week, we focused on cultivating a right heart with God through prayer and fasting. This week, we will shift gears by exploring specific habits Jesus adopted in his own life: silence, stillness, and solitude. These practices also are beneficial for us to implement into the rhythm of our lives.
While these disciplines may be new to you, as they are to most Christians in the 21st century global west, they have been practiced by followers of Jesus for centuries. As we will keep stating throughout our time of prayer and fasting, to experience the full life of Jesus, we must also adopt the lifestyle of Jesus. That leads directly back to the habits that Jesus practiced personally.
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. When they found him, they said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’”
“But Jesus replied, ‘We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.’ So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.”
In Mark 1:21-34, Jesus has a long, full day. This marks the beginning of his public ministry. As the word spread of this man who was healing the sick and casting out demons, people began flocking to Jesus in droves. According to Mark 1:33, “The whole town gathered at the door to watch.” After such a successful launch to his ministry, it would make sense for Jesus to capitalize on the moment and focus on building his following, right?
Instead, he got up early to leave town and spend time alone in prayer. When Simon found Jesus to tell him he was in demand, Jesus’ reply was that it was time to leave town. Think how his actions are different from what most of us would do in his shoes. It defied logic and strategy. The people must have been baffled.
That is why it was so crucial for Jesus to spend time alone in prayer. After being surrounded by the noise and chaos of the crowd, Jesus needed to be alone. He needed to slow down and find a quiet place. By spending time in prayer, Jesus recognized it was time to walk away. He was content to leave the crowd behind and move on to what was next. His time alone in prayer prepared him for all the activity and busyness he would encounter the rest of the day.
Therefore, being like Jesus means prioritizing time alone with God away from the rest of the world. The habits of silence and stillness help us to do that. Embracing physical silence and stillness helps us come to a state of peace and quiet in our hearts. They are postures, outward actions that represents an inner condition. Christians routinely incorporate postures into their worship and prayer lives. For example, raising hands in worship as a sign of surrender to God, bowing or kneeling as a sign of reverence, or standing up as a show of respect.
The postures of silence and stillness help us avoid an overly-hurried life and experience God’s presence while we pray. Let’s follow Jesus’ example and spend time alone with God, away from the noise and distraction we face in the rest of our lives.
Spend time alone with God by calming the noise and activity inside you. Breathe deeply, and simply be with Him for ten minutes uninterrupted. Consider this: If Jesus needed to go to an isolated place to pray, how much do we? Ask for His help to become silent and still in your inner world.
Prayer: “Jesus, as I silence and still the noise and activity in my outer world, help me come to a place of silence and stillness in my heart. I desire to simply be with you to be renewed and restored. My heart is yours. I surrender all that is within me to you. I want to experience the full life you offer. Help me to do that and to remain in intimate fellowship with you for the rest of my day.”
By Dave Mann
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