Read: Psalm 65:1; Ecclesiastes 3:7, 5:2 – 7; Matthew 5:33 – 37
The literal Hebrew translation of Psalm 65:1, reflected in the New American Standard version, begins, “Silence is praise to You, O God.” The subject of silence as a component of our relationship with God is a neglected topic in our noisy world.
Think About It: What do the passages in Ecclesiastes and Matthew suggest as an appropriate reason for silence? Have I ever made rash promises to God or anyone else that I later regretted or failed to fulfill?
Prayer: For discernment in knowing when to speak, and when to remain silent; for God’s help in keeping my word.
Read: Psalm 65:1; Isaiah 41:1; 1 Kings 19:11 – 13; Luke 9:28 – 36
Another reason for times of silence in our relationship with God is that such times give us an opportunity to listen to Him. God spoke to Elijah not in the mighty wind, earthquake, or roaring fire, but in the “still small voice” of a gentle blowing. Peter, in his fearful amazement at the transfiguration, had trouble keeping silent, but how could he hear what Jesus had to say unless he shut his own mouth?
Think About It: Do I ever just listen quietly to God? Is my prayer life a monologue to God, or a dialogue with God?
Prayer: For the patience to wait upon the Lord; for the capacity to hear with “spiritual ears” what God says to me in His word illumined in my heart.
Read: Psalm 65:1; Habakkuk 2:20; Zechariah 2:13; Psalm 46:10
Another reason for times of silence in our relationship with God is that God commands silence before Him. In silence we are to KNOW that God is God (and we are not); that He is Holy; that we are His subjects and must submit to His sovereign will.
Think About It: How does the experience of awareness of God differ from the experience of thinking about God? Is it possible to have one experience without the other? When have I been most aware of God’s presence? What helps me to be aware of God?
Prayer: For greater awareness of the awesome reality of God’s presence.
Read: Psalm 65:1; Lamentations 3:19 – 28
Another reason for times of silence in our relationship with God is that in silence we receive the Lord’s salvation. The context of Lamentations 3 is not eternal salvation, but day-to, day salvation– the daily lovingkindnesses and compassions of God, by which He delivers us from our weakness, persecutions, and troubles. Silence permits us to relate everything else in our life to the presence and power of Christ our Savior. Such silence would be in contrast to angry ranting or bitter complaining about our circumstances; it is the silence of submission to God, the silence of waiting on Him for deliverance.
Think About It: Am I prone to “ranting” or complaining? When is it appropriate to speak up? (See Paul’s example in Acts 16:35 – 39.) When is it better to remain silent (Isaiah 53:7)?
Prayer: For the discipline to be silent and wait patiently for the Lord’s deliverance.
Read: Psalm 65:1; Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:31; Luke 5:16; Galatians 1:17; Revelation 1:10
The practice of times of silence in our relationship with God requires that we somehow find a way to withdraw and set aside time for silence. Our Lord Jesus Himself withdrew to a lonely place to pray; He called His disciples apart. Paul spent time in the desert of Arabia. John, in exile on Patmos, withdrew “in the Spirit.” Susannah Wesley, mother of nineteen children, would withdraw daily by throwing her apron up over her head. Before and during our worship services there are opportunities for us to be silent.
Think About It: How do I– or could I– find a place and time to withdraw and spend some time in silence before God?
Prayer: For the discipline to make time and space to be silent before God.
Read: Psalm 65:1; Isaiah 26:3; Mark 4:35 – 41
Another possibility for a time of silence in our relationship with God is in the midst of the storm. The mind stayed on God is kept in the quietness of perfect peace; for this reason the Lord Jesus could be asleep in the storm.
Think About It: Have I known quietness in the midst of life’s storms?
Prayer: For the discipline to keep my mind focused on God even when the storms of life are raging.
Read: Psalm 65:1 – 13
Thinking about God can help us to become more aware of God. Psalm 65 suggests several things that we can remember about God: that He hears prayer, that He forgives sin, that He chooses us to be close to Him, and that He does mighty works and gives gracious gifts.
Think About It: What do I think about when I think of God? How might Psalm 65 help me add to my knowledge and awareness of God?
Prayer: For increasing knowledge about God and awareness of God.