“Listen to me in silence” Isaiah 41:1
Silence is often uncomfortable. We may long for a bit of peace and quiet sometimes, but being alone in silence for any length of time is hard.
We are masters at wrapping ourselves in noise and distraction. We tune into social media, the radio, the television – anything to fill the air with noise and keep our attention outward rather than inward.
It is as if we fear silence because we know that there are noises inside us that clamour for our attention: the twittering niggles of jobs to be done, the throb of regrets, of not being good enough, and the deep, wrenching pain of guilt, hurt and loss.
Our thoughts in silence can overwhelm us.
A friend of mine booked a conference room for an hour for a meeting one day. Just as she entered the room a message flashed up on her phone saying her colleague could not make it. Suddenly, instead of filling the hour with business, she found herself alone in silence with time, her thoughts, a notebook and a pen. She had a choice to make. Either she turned round and went back to her office and her to-do list, or she stayed and engaged with the opportunity of time, space and silence.
Deep inside she knew this was a gift. She was carrying a personal burden that required a decision which she knew she was avoiding. A voice within her called out that this was the time to make that decision, to embrace the courage to change. At the end of the hour she had mapped out what she needed to do. She left the room with a lighter heart.
The silence of God is not the black emptiness of a sound booth. It is high voltage – charged with the Holy Spirit, our counsellor, guide, teacher, friend. Alive with hope and healing.
We just need to tune in.
This is where it is okay to be vulnerable, honest with ourselves so that we can be honest with God. Only then can the healing start. We can un-peel the layers, take off our masks, let go of our defences and face reality. Change can happen.
God calls us to listen to him in silence. In our vulnerability we can trust God as he says “Come to me . . . learn from me . . . I am gentle” (Matthew 11:28-29)
Prayer in silence is about listening, waiting, opening, letting go.
Being not doing.
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Father, I give you my busyness.
In the rush and pressure of life I am hiding from myself as much as hiding from you.
There is fear, and pain and hurt that can feel too hard to face.
Help me to be open with you . . . to trust you … to allow you to un-peel the layers of my life.
I believe that in your presence there is hope and healing.
May I seek silence as a gift and may I linger long enough to hear your voice and learn from you.