Sunday, March 04, 2007

Prayer: Silence

I am reading a challenging and fascinating book, A Center of Quiet: Hearing God When Life Is Noisy by David Runcorn. The book is great, but I can’t seem to get past the first chapter. I have this problem because the book challenges the reader to spend some “quiet time” alone with God daily. I know many of you may not find this shocking, but when this book talks about quite time, it is not referring to prayer time (when I am talking to God), and it is not referring to Bible study. In fact, the author points out that the evangelical style of “quite time” is the discipline of daily prayer and Bible reading. Although these disciplines are essential to the Christian, and have their place, what is often missed by many of us is the need to actually sit in SILENCE and open ourselves up to God. The author states that he learned to be disciplined and structured in his prayer and Bible reading from evangelical Christians, but it was the Catholic and Orthodox traditions of the church that revealed the need to follow Jesus into the desert so that he could learn to be alone and silent before God.

This is difficult for me. I am such an extrovert that I hate to be alone. And, to make matters worse, when I try to be silent, my mind becomes even noisier as I think of the many things I need to do that day. All of these are obstacles to silence, not to mention the fact that I work as an attorney, have a husband and two small children, along with numerous other responsibilities.

According to the book, this is normal. The author also understands that busy people may not be able to run off for 2 hours of silence. However, he encourages the reader to think of a few of the moments and places that the reader could be quite during the day.

No matter how busy we are, we can each find 5 minutes in our day to be quiet. Once you have found this time, try this exercise from the book:

Choose a comfortable but alert posture. Sit quietly for a moment, letting your body settle down. Let your breathing find its rhythm. Deepen your breathing slightly. Let your body relax and then breath in with the prayer “Lord Jesus Christ” and breathe out “Have mercy on me.” By doing this, you will be inviting Christ to clear out the clutter and noise within. Quietly repeat the prayer for a while on the rhythm of your breathing. When you are ready, be completely silent for a moment, and then, if you wish, close with a prayer of your own.

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