The Bible tells us of a time when the prophet Elijah was told to stand on Mount Horeb. As he stood there, there was a mighty wind that came rushing by, but God was not in the wind. Then there was an earthquake, which made the land tremble, but God was not in the earthquake. After that, there was a roaring blaze of fire, but God was not in the fire. Finally, there was what is called “a still, small voice,” “a quiet whisper,” or “the sound of a gentle blowing.” It was in the quietness of the gentle blowing that the voice of God came to Elijah. God is perfectly capable of shouting, and sometimes He does. Sometimes, however, God chooses to whisper. We need to learn to hear the whispers of God.
Solitude and silence may be one of the most misunderstood spiritual disciplines. It also may be one of the most difficult to practice, at least for those in the western world. Our lives are filled with constant noise. Silence is often uncomfortable for us, even to the point that we will seek out noise if there is none. We will turn on a television, even if we do not watch it. We always have music going in the background. We even have noise machines to make “white noise” to help us fall asleep. Constant noise, however, makes it more difficult for us to hear and discern the voice of God.
The Great Value of
Solitude and Silence
Solitude and silence involve spending time on our own, with no distractions, in order to better hear the voice of God. God’s Word speaks to the importance of this being a continuing part of our lives.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“… the sheep listen to His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads
them out… And His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.”
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my
heart said to You, ‘Your face,
O Lord, I shall seek.”
As Christians, it is imperative that we hear the voice of God, and then obey. Jesus expects that as His followers we will listen to and follow Him. We should be so in tune with God that we hear Him speaking to us throughout the day, even amid all the distractions and noises that fill our lives. Each of us needs periods of solitude and silence to know and hear the voice of God. Solitude and silence gives us a time to learn the sound of God’s voice without distractions, so we can more easily hear and recognize it in the midst of the many voices and distractions that fill our days.
Suggestions for Solitude and Silence
- Each day or a few times each week find a quiet place, free from distractions and man made noise. It can be in a private room or some quite place in nature.
- Give yourself time to relax, be still, and to disengage from the activities of the day. Be aware of the simple, quite noises around you, and make an effort to put them aside.
- Ask the Lord to speak whatever He desires to you, or even ask Him if He has a word about some specific area of your life or about some question or issue you are dealing with.
- Sit quietly for an extended period, simply listening for words or thoughts or even feelings that you may believe to be from God. Write down anything you feel like God may have said. Be sure to pray over anything you may have written down, making sure it is not in conflict with God’s written Word.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t “hear” anything. You have quieted yourself before the Lord and have listened for His voice. He is pleased with that, and the time is not wasted.