In our current hurried, multi-tasking culture, an increasingly large numbers of Christ-followers are not spending time to cultivate their personal relationship with Jesus. They are Christians but are stuck, living on a spiritual auto-pilot.
I am teaching the EHS Course at New Life this Fall to about 130 people. It has been an eye-opening experience for me to dig deeply into people’s spiritual practices around spending time with God, and calling them to an intentional rhythm with God integrating silence and the Daily Office (through the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day book).
Not surprisingly, silence is the greatest challenge for most people along with the cultivation of a rhythm of stopping to be with God. My stopping to be with God four times a day is indispensable for my life. (In a future blog I will describe my rhythms). Let me invite you to watch this 3-4 minute introduction on the Daily Office and download a digital version to your mobile device from Amazon , Christian Book Distributors or Barnes & Noble.
Silent prayer goes back to the first century as a central way to enter into the contemplative dimension of life. As Henri Nouwen said so well: “Without silence it is virtually impossible to grow spiritually.” I agree. It is an invitation to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Silent Prayer is a state of being in direct contact with God who dwells within us. It is about intention, that is, being totally open to God. It is the boot camp of the Garden of Gethsemane (“not my will, but your will”) as we consent to the presence and the action of God within us.
The following are 3 guidelines that I have learned from the Trappist monk, Thomas Keating, and his ministry of Contemplative Outreach to help me with my times of being still before the Lord (Ps. 37:7).
- Be in faith and love to God who dwells in the center of your being.
- Take up a love word towards Him (e.g. Abba, Father, Lord,) and let it be gently present, supporting your being with God in faith-filled love.
- Whenever you become aware of distractions, simply gently return to the Lord with the use of your prayer word.
Research with Buddhists and Christian monks has demonstrated conclusively how the practice of silence transforms the neurochemistry of the brain. That is true, of course. Why? Silence was always meant to be part of Gods’ plan for transformation of our lives.
So let me invite you to change your brain and change your life. How? By venturing on this exciting journey with silence and the Daily Office.