By Kim Butts
Silence is very difficult . . . yet, it is in this place where God can choose to speak or not to speak and I am still able to know He is near because of the promise of His word in James 4:8 (“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”).
Scripture is very clear that God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) dwells within those who believe and who have entered into relationship with the Living Jesus. It takes time to release thoughts, troubles, etc. and simply be present to God so that He is able to connect with me. God can most certainly speak any way He wishes–even in the busiest, loudest moments of life. But I hear better when I take care to purposefully disentangle myself from every distraction and be still. This means putting my cell phone far away, shutting the lid to my computer, and just getting completely alone.
I can be confident that my silence is prayer that God hears–I am telling my Father that He has center stage. He alone is holy, holy, holy. He is worthy above anyone or anything I could choose to engage with in this moment. I choose Him.
My silence releases the ache of my heart to be close and intimate with all that He is. In my silence I am able to “be still and know that He alone is God” (Psalm 46:10). I know that my Father is good, kind, and very present to me. He wants to hear my heartbeat as much or even more than I want to hear His. He wants all of my prayer-filled attention, and to know that all of my distractions have been set aside to allow His glory to fill the temple of the Holy Spirit that He has created for Himself.
The prayer of silence speaks from a yieldedness that cannot be accomplished more fully in any other form. It simply is for Him. His presence is all I need. In silence, I can remember that this is so.
As I have mentioned, silence is not an easy way to be present to God in prayer. This discipline takes time and practice. It is much simpler to speak to Him with words. But sometimes the offering of my words does not always give Him an offering of myself. And just being quiet doesn’t mean prayer is taking place.
Here are three ways to enable yourself to practice silent prayer:
- Remove distractions. There is no way to enter into silent prayer when people, technology or visual/auditory stimuli are present. You can’t multi-task in silent prayer. You will need to find your silent prayer sweet spot with God alone.
- Cleanse yourself from sin. Recognize any sinfulness in your life, submit it to God with a repentant heart and receive His forgiveness and cleansing.
- Take every thought captive. The best way to do this is to turn your thoughts to the Father with a deep desire to minister to Him. Put your thoughts on His glory, His creation, His sacrifice, His mercy, etc.
Silent prayer invites the mystery of God to come near. Take time to cultivate His presence in this way, and you will encounter His presence, power and peace in fresh ways. He will come near to you as you sacrifice all else for a desire to draw near to Him in the stillness.
–Kim Butts is the co-founder of Harvest Prayer Ministries.