“Silence in prayer is often not something we orchestrate; rather, it is a gift that can come upon us quite unexpectedly. Instead of rushing to fill the gap, we learn to embrace the gift as the better part of our time of prayer.” Quotes by Wesley and Stacey Campbell
In learning about prayer, silence and contemplation is a special dimension that very few of us have grasped. One of the reasons for this is because we have been influenced by the noise and busyness of our present-day life style. And in the midst of a whirlwind of activity that we have so often misunderstood as important or necessary, we have missed the beauty and necessity of learning the discipline of silence. We so often miss out on the life of contem-plation.
Recently as I sat silently looking out of the window watching the snowflakes fall, I realized afresh how wonderful it is to be quiet before God in silent meditation. Take time to be silent before God. I do this on a regular basis, and find that it adds a wonderful dimension to my prayer life.
The Bible says that we must be still in order to know God. Silence is a necessary art if we want to really know God. It is a gift from God. So if God is quieting down your activity or stopping you in some way right now, perhaps He wants you to learn this most important discipline. God is wooing you to Himself. He is removing all the barriers of true communion with His spirit. This is a gift to you, so embrace it with all your heart. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10a:
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
“In silent contemplation, a supernatural drawing occurs. Having come to the end of words, we simply stare in silence at the person of God. One of the most apt, and most beautiful, descriptions of the essence of contemplation that I have heard comes from a simple farmer: ‘Think of the wonderful description given by that unlettered farm laborer at Ars who used to remain for hours in stillness and silence gazing at the tabernacle and when the Cure d’Ars asked him what he did there, simply replied: I LOOK AT HIM, AND HE LOOKS AT ME.’”
The Benefits of Silence Contemplation in Prayer
- God fights on our behalf when we are silent – “You and I are very weak. If you, in your weakness, attempt to attack your enemies, you will often find yourself wounded. There is another way. In times of temptation and distraction, remain by faith in the simple presence of Jesus Christ. You will find an immediate supply of strength.”
“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent” (Exodus 14:14).
- We find God in a deeper dimension – In silent prayer, we develop the art of looking at God.
“’You will seek me and find me when you seek for me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).
- We grow in the art of meditating on Scripture – Exodus 34:6-7 is filled with the divine attributes of God. Meditate on these two verses for a long period of time.
”And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7a).
- We learn to shut out external activity – We discover the art of external simplicity and inwardly learn to dwell in God’s presence. “One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple (Psalm 27:4).
- We learn to meditate on God’s nature – It is good to start with meditating on one aspect of God’s nature in a single verse of Scripture. For example, meditate on God’s holiness adorning His house for endless days as found in the following verse:
“Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord” (Psalm 93:5).
- We grow in our love relationship with God – “What we are really after is the ability to live out the first commandment – namely to love the God who loved us first, with all the passion and strength we possess. Therefore, words become unnecessary when their purpose has been fulfilled.
”At the deepest personal level possible, an interchange of love is occurring. And although contemplation usually starts with a person pouring out his or her emotions for God, often one is swept up into a realm where one is overtaken by feelings from God.”
I pray that each one of us will learn the secret of silent contemplation. This is where we take the time to commune with God heart to heart and spirit to spirit. It will not happen by chance, but we must give time for this and understand its’ value. I am challenged by St. Francis and his example of silent contemplation before God.
“With face turned to heaven, and hands and eyes lifted to God, in complete surrender and with the warmest of devotion, he prayed, saying: ‘My god, my All’ These words he groaned out to God, with copious tears again and again with solemn devotion until dawn: ‘My God, my All’ – and no more.”
“Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him . . . when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord . . . Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abounds”
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International