Nothing in Western culture supports the practice of silence – especially for leaders. Our very sense of identity is based on accomplishments and what others think.
Silence before God simply appears so unproductive.
Silence forces us to face our “inner monsters,” confronting us with our addiction to being in control, and bringing us face to face with demonic powers and principalities. Why? They rage to prevent us from the deep knowing of God that comes out of being still before Him, or relaxing as one OT scholar translates it (Ps. 46:10).
Few spiritual practices are more transformative and important. For this reason, it is core to The EHS Course, our discipleship course that’s changing churches around the world.
Set your timer each day for 5 to 10 minutes over the next week. And consider the following guidelines that have served me so well over the last 13 years. (And that I continue to use here at New Life).
Guidelines for Silence and Stillness
1. Sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to help you settle into silence.
2. Choose a very simple prayer to express your openness and desire for God. (e.g. Abba, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Here I am, Come Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus have mercy on me)
3. Offer this prayer to Jesus, allowing His will full access in your life.
4. When you become distracted, offer again your simple prayer back to God.
Is this difficult? Absolutely, especially in the beginning. But like learning an instrument or foreign language, it gradually becomes second nature. You will wonder how you ever lived without it.
The practice of silence is very simple. The problem is you can’t just talk about it. You must do it. So don’t worry about whether you are doing it “correctly.” This is about relationship and God rejoices at your intent and desire to be with Him.
And may you increasingly experience these words as a living reality in your leadership:
Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Ex. 14:14
PS Go to this page on our website for brief answers to the Top Ten FAQs about Practicing Silence.
PSS Let me invite you to send me questions/comments on Twitter @petescazzero