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Daily Devotionals

Day 23 – Issue 18

todayMay 1, 2015 46

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Be Still Know

Psalm 46:10 NLT

‘Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.’

Before I began training as a spiritual director, I was strongly encouraged to retreat for a week of silence and stillness. I secured a place on a retreat at the Carmelite Friary in Aylesford, Kent. I travelled there knowing very little concerning what I had signed up for. On arrival, we gathered together and learned that from that evening we would enter into silent contemplation. Meals would be taken in silence and we would keep the silence throughout the day across the whole friary, the only exception the hour each day we had with our spiritual director, allocated from a team on-site with us.

I’d been advised this was not a reading week so had left all but my Bible behind, which together with a notebook were the only resources I carried with me into the silence. As we concluded our initial gathering and began the silence, something of an impenetrable mountain confronted me; how was I to survive this and remain sane?

Climbing a mountain takes energy, commitment and courage. These three components were essential throughout my retreat: the energy to go in search of God in the silence and the commitment to persevere. I also needed courage to step outside my comfort zone, to face who I was in the silence when all I had was myself, and the courage to listen to God and make response to all I perceived God was saying to me.

Yet, I was following in the longest tradition of the Church and engaging in its prayer of silence. It was an expression of prayer I had little experience of. My prayer life was word-orientated and what silence there might have been was destroyed with my endless stream of prayers for others and for me, with little opportunity for God to respond. One reflection that struck me was just how little silence there was in my life. Pausing for lunch I would normally switch on a news channel. Casual evenings were filled with TV or music. Was I, in fact, ever in a place of stillness or silence?

QUESTION: Are you able to engage in silent prayer? Is silence something you dread and seek to avoid?

PRAYER: Lord, with my mouth shut but my heart open, I wait for you.

Written by: Matt Weet

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