The prophet urges us, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20). The Psalmist invites us to “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The Lord showed Elijah and us that to sense his presence and hear his message we need to be quiet and listen for God’s “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12).
With so many diversions and distractions, silence is a rare experience for many of us. This is sad, because silence allows us to hear God and open our hearts to God. Silence allows us to honestly examine ourselves in the presence of God. Do we take enough time in church meetings and Sunday morning gatherings for wordless worship, quiet reflection and prayer?
Ministry and even worship services can actually provide diversions and distraction to elude encountering God. This is sad, because our external activities in the world should derive from our intimacy with God. The life of Jesus illustrates a pattern of taking time away from teaching and healing, and seeking significant time to be with God (Luke 5:16; Mark 1:35). This provided him with the inner strength to deal with the outward pressures imposed by both those who opposed him and those who depended on him.
Silence helps us refocus on God, and it energizes our ministry. When we turn to God in silence during our daily activities, we become more conscious of God in the routines of everyday life. When we set aside time in our schedules for silence, we walk and talk with God. When we take time in church meetings for silent prayer, we better discern the difference between Christian activities and serving in Christ’s name. When we come ten minutes early for a worship gathering and sit in silence, worship becomes more of an encounter.