TWLV Talk: Spending Time in Silence
At last Sunday’s TWLV talk, Greg Lusby introduced us to the concept of spending time in silence to grow closer to God. We live in an extremely noisy world distracting us from spending time in thought. Did you know that the average human can’t stand more than 15 seconds of unintentional silence without beginning to feel uncomfortable, or feel the need to create noise?
Regularly practicing silence can benefit everyone, spiritually and psychologically. Greg outlined specific benefits to practicing silence and gave helpful tips for developing this ritual.
The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Being silent, is a form of prayer to our creator. We’ve been replacing contemplative prayer, with partitioning prayer, in which we spend our time talking at God, and not meditating on His word, or His character. The goal of silent contemplation is to simply be in God’s presence.
Greg explained that having a friend you are so close to, you can sit in silence and be perfectly content is the same connection that God wants to have with us. These moments of silence with our friends draw us closer to each other as we recognize the intimate bond of comfort we have. When we silently contemplate in prayer, we are inviting God to embrace this type of relaxed closeness.
“Neurotheology” is the science of how the brain reacts to prayer and spiritual beliefs. There are many studies and findings on what happens in the brain during contemplative prayer in silence. Scientists studying Neurotheology claim that humanity's problems stem from not being able to sit in silence alone. In Exodus 34: 6-7, God is described as compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving. Findings show that people who practice regularly, overall are more compassionate, and less likely to be fearful and angry. Time spent in silence and contemplation can make us more like God Himself.
Contemplative prayer is essentially a form of meditation. A lot of us feel weary about the word meditation assuming it requires you to empty your mind, however the actual definition is spending time thinking deeply about something or contemplating something, like God. Meditating on God’s character can make us feel closer to Him as we spend time embracing His presence in our silence. Most of us probably spend most of our time praying to God. We continuously ask Him to show up, but we don’t spend time in silence to hear Him to respond or allow us to feel His presence. Contemplative prayer can help us slow down and realize that God has been present the whole time. Greg explained that when he began to practice contemplative prayer, he realized that God had always been there, and it was himself who finally showed up when he took the time to slow down.
Practical Steps for Times of Silence
The starting point to spending time in silence, is accepting that there is no failure. The act of trying is a success. Much like our walk with God is our own, so is spending time with God.
Silence your phone
Find a non-distracting atmosphere
Get comfortable, but not too comfortable that you accidently fall asleep
Use good posture to help you stay focused
Set a timer, so that you don’t feel intimidated by open ended minutes
Take a few deep breaths to relax
For those with overactive thoughts, give your mind something to do while focusing on God. This can be a phrase such as, God’s love flows through me, or it could be a characteristic of God, like generosity. Visualize these traits, and repeat them in your mind every now and then when you lose focus.
Don’t get discouraged when you get distracted, and you will get distracted. Simply acknowledge the thought, and let it pass - remember there is no failure.
About the Author
Laura Moore wants to live in a world where everyone feels like they have a place and everyone is understood. Her goal for this blog is to share and recap real life topics, and to help provide a place for others to feel know.
In her free time she loves to go on hikes, sit in hot tubs, and paint. Coffee dates and long talks is how she gets to know others best. Laura loves hearing life stories and understanding how people came to be the way they are.
Keep up with her blog here for TWLV talk recaps, other topics and life experiences!