by Lilly Lewin,
I have shared before that I believe in the PRACTICE OF SILENCE. We included SILENCE as one of the practices in our SACRED SUMMER KIT because we all need space and opportunity to hear from God. But it is so hard when we are so busy and life is so noisy! Kids, TV, Netflix, News, traffic, appliances, our phones… all add noise to our lives. How do we open the Gift of Silence? Where do we start? First, we need to remember that we aren’t behind! We all are learning, and like any thing worth doing, the practice of silence, TAKES PRACTICE! And the practice of Silence will restore your soul and change your life.
When you think of being silent, practicing silence, what feelings or emotions come up for you?
What fears do you have about SILENCE? Talk to Jesus about this.
Jesus was a friend of Silence, and Jesus invites each of us to open this gift so we can draw closer to him!
READ/LISTEN TO THE PASSAGE in three versions. What is God’s word for you today? What is Jesus speaking to you about today? Listen and allow the Holy Spirit to Highlight the passages for you. Be still. Listen. Respond.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
MARK 1: 12 -13
At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
LUKE 5: 15-16
15 Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. 16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: What is God speaking to you about today from these passages?
Use these passages and the GIFT OF SILENCE as your inspiration this week.
Feel free to use these passages in your small groups for discussion and on your own, and response this week. Journal in response to the question and/or the GIFT, write or find poetry about silence, find a piece of art or a photograph that reflects silence. Create a collage. Find a song that helps you practice silence.
What is God’s Word for you today? What do you notice that you didn’t notice before?
What questions come up as you listen to or read these passages?
What do you notice about Jesus and silence?
The Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the wilderness where he was tempted.
What temptations keep you from being alone and silent with Jesus?
What things get in your way when you try to be with God? What things keep you from practicing silence?
Often it’s in the wilderness where we have space to pay attention to what Jesus is saying to us. Outside, away from everything inside that distracts us, we can learn to listen and hear form God.
To practice silence plan a time away from your usual daily activities. Where is a place of “wilderness” near your home where you can go and get away with God? It might be a park, a backyard, or somewhere farther away. It might be in your room with the door closed and the phone off. Where can you practice silence this week?
Pick a sunny spot outside. Or a comfy chair away from distractions of TV and other screens. What do you notice around you? What do you hear?
Set your timer and sit in silence for 3 minutes. What do you notice? What sights do you notice? What sounds? Smells?
Create a place or get outside each day this week and practice silence for 5-15 minutes.
When we practice silence our brain is filled with thoughts that get in the way of being quiet with God/Jesus. THIS IS NORMAL! Use paper and a pen and make a BRAIN DRAIN LIST of all the things that come up and distract you as you listen for the still, small voice of God. You will need a BRAIN DRAIN LIST each time you plan to practice silence. Just keep that notepad nearby!
Read the quotes below. How do they help you understand why we all need silence?
“God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” Mother Teresa
How might silence help you have space to love others?
“Each of us needs an opportunity to be alone, and silent. To find space in the day or in the week, just to reflect and to listen to the voice of God that speaks deep with us. Our search for God is only our response to his search for us. He knocks on the door, but for many people their lives are too preoccupied for them to be able to hear. “ Cardinal Basil Hume (Benedictine monk, England 1923-1999)
REMEMBER Jesus is with you right now. The Holy Spirit is here with you. Allow space in your day for Silence. Start with five minutes and add a few minutes each day this week. You might start in the shower or the bathtub. Or begin the day in silence rather than looking at your phone or turning on the news. You could drive in silence or intentionally take a walk in silence and listen instead of talking. Use your BRAIN DRAIN LIST to help you!
Start with the simple prayer: “HERE I AM LORD, I AM LISTENING.”
For more help with opening the Gift of Silence, going deeper practices, and experiences you can do with your small group, your friends or with your family, check out the Sacred Summer Kit.
Want to experience more of the awe and wonder that God offers us? Check out the Gift of Wonder Online Retreat by Christine Sine. This retreat allows for 180 days of access for only $39.99 so you can move through the sessions at your own pace.