Principle 2: Spend some time in quiet every day.
“Be still and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10.
Silence. Just a word. Seven letters long. What the poets refer to as a pause. Just a few moments of listening, that’s all. Not much to ask. To refrain from speaking, to get away from all the modern-life hullabaloo. To follow the advice of the psalmist when he says, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps. 46:10) But maybe it’s more. Maybe it’s a new way of living. For only in the silence can we hear the voice of the Lord, speaking to our spirit, speaking to our hearts. After all, silence may be the prelude to conversation.
Yet these days silence is such a precious commodity. Everywhere we go we hear noise, nothing but noise. It seems that modern man cannot live without his babel. It’s cell phones, television, radio, music, talk, chatter-chatter-chatter. Even in church we do most of the talking. How can God get a word in edgewise? Seems there’s no space for listening to what He has to say.
How long would we remain friends with someone who told us what great friends we were and thanked us for our friendship, then apologized for offending us the last time we were together and not giving us much time, then asked us for a favor, then said, “See you,” and left us standing there without giving us a chance to say anything? I’ve often wondered if that is how I treat God, then expect His friendship.
Is that the model the Bible leaves us with? How many years of listening did it take before Abraham heard God tell him to take his family and leave Ur? How long did Moses herd his father-in-law’s sheep and listen before the Burning Bush appeared to him? Out there tending his father’s flock, how many years was David listening before he sang his first psalm? How much trouble did he get into after he became king simply because he quit listening?
When Jesus went off to pray, was he doing most of the talking, or was he simply enjoying the presence of His Father in silence? Seems to me that He was just listening. After all, He’d learned that from His mother of whom the Scriptures say that she pondered all these things in her heart.
How many years did Muhammad and the Buddha have to listen before they attained their enlightenment?
As the prophet Elijah discovered, God does not always speak in ways that we expect. Sometimes His is the soft, gentle voice of the wind which we can only hear by listening—and listening hard. How much better would the world be, how much happier would we be if we took the first thirty minutes of each day and sat in silence, just listening?