“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. contemplation is a special dimension that very few of us have fully grasped. Most of us are not skilled in beholding God. 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 before God. We so often miss out on the life of contemplation, one of beholding the beauty of Jesus.
Recently my husband and I went on a short spiritual retreat in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We sat in a beautiful cottage called “The Refuge” situated alongside the Big Thompson River in Estes Park, with a steady stream of water cascading over the rocks just a few feet from our front door. We walked into this retreat home and to our amazement, it was filled with worship music and Bible verses on every wall; “Be Still and Know that I am God,” “The Lord is Our Refuge” and many more were everywhere. It was a breathtaking layout with everything pointing to silence and rest in God’s presence.
The weather was rainy most of the week but even in spite of the rain, that cottage was a place of refuge for us. They told us it had been raining for days! But we were nestled inside that quiet place with five days of endless time to behold God and His mighty works. The mountains were majestic in stature, and when the rain stopped, we were able to drive to the very heights and see life with a mountaintop view of God’s handiwork.
During those days I sat silently before God and would just behold His beauty and the attractiveness of that retreat place alongside those gorgeous mountains. I realized afresh how wonderful and necessary it is to be quiet before God in silent meditation. I needed it. As we enter into the end of the age, we must be quiet before God, find Him as our refuge, and rise up to the heights and see life from His viewpoint.
I encourage you to take time to be silent before God. I do this on a regular basis in my home and find that it adds a wonderful dimension to my prayer life. The Colorado retreat reinforced deeply to me the importance of beholding God in silent meditation. Most of us are very busy, but we all can narrow down our lives to what is most important.
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, perhaps He wants you to learn this 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.
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
“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 Silent Contemplation in Prayer
“From time to time you will begin to touch the state of inward silence. What shall be your response to such an experience? But what shall you do? Nothing! Simply yield to the inward drawing. Yield to the wooing of your spirit. Your spirit is drawing you deeper within.”
There are so many benefits of retreating before God in silent contemplation. Here are some of them:
- God fights on our behalf when we are silent – We are too weak to fight our enemies ourselves. We will be wounded, but in times of temptation if we remain in faith in God’s presence, He will give us His 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. I encourage you to meditate on these 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 learn 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 – We learn to live out the first commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength.“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Luke 10:27).
I pray that each one of us will learn the secret of silent contemplation and have personal retreats with God. 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. We should do this regularly for shorter times, and occasionally for longer retreats.
We are in a time when we must find our refuge in God and see the world from His vantage point. Intimacy and stillness before the Lord is going to be key to living a successful and joyful life in this hour. It’s time to realize that it’s all about a wedding at the end of the age and we are Jesus’ Bride. You are the Bride of Christ. This is a day of preparation and transition into what really matters for eternity. We must lean upon our beloved in all that we do. We are not complete until we find our center in God. Our fruitfulness will come from this place. I am challenged by St. Francis and his example of silent devotion 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.”
Carefully spend time in God’s presence with the following worship music. I have lots of worship music on my website designed for intercessors as well.
“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” (Psalm 4:3-7).
By Debbie Przybylski
Intercessors Arise International
International House of Prayer Kansas City (IHOP-KC)