Several years ago I went away to spend two days alone with God. For my spiritual retreat, I chose a hotel in a tiny town with one street. There was no television, radio, or room service. Just me and my heavenly Father. Sounds great, right?
I quickly discovered I had a lot to learn about silence, solitude, and spending focused time in prayer. As the sun set on that first day I felt restless and just a little bit panicked. What was I going to do with all this time alone with God?
Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10a, NIV
Psalm 46 celebrates the presence of God with His people. The psalmist calls the people of God to forget all the things that vie for our time and attention and be still before the only One is who is deserving.
Forget the clock. Forget the to-do list. Forget everything and be still before Him. Often said; seldom done.
We often cite busy lives, a lack of time, as the reason we don’t spend more time still before God. Yes, our culture not only fosters a busy lifestyle, it honors it.
But did you know the average American spends 8 1/2 hours a day watching television, using computers, and in various other forms of entertainment? (Article in New York Times, Dec. 2006)
Think for a minute. How much time do you spend in these activities? How much time do you spend in prayer?
Praying, sitting still in the presence of God, is how we come to know Him, experience Him; learn to depend on Him. If we believe in the power of prayer, and more specifically the nature of the God to whom we pray – then we will pray. Regularly and often; continuously and fervently.
I haven’t gotten this right. I am still a prayer babe. Like an active toddler who can’t sit still for five minutes, I so often sit down with God only to be up and moving again far too soon.
But I’m practicing Psalm 46:10. Because it’s in the stopping and the stillness and the waiting that we meet Him.
How are you doing with sitting still before God? In what specific ways do you struggle? What tips can you share for “being still?”
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I feel like a prayer babe, too! But, like you, I’m still learning. I find that I get distracted a lot, but when I keep at it, my length of focus gets longer. When the house is quiet I do the best. Also, times of worship followed by prayer help. When I listen to worship music it puts me in a more listening mood and so my prayer time becomes richer.
Joan, we have so many distractions in the world around us, don’t we? Thanks for sharing about the worship music. That’s a great idea. I have also noticed that when I focus on worship prayer comes easier. Perhaps it’s because God created us to worship Him!
When I was a young mom at home with my little ones I discovered a few practical praying times during my day. At a time when moments alone were rare and distractions plentiful – vacuuming was my prayer time! The loud drone of the machine drowns out any audible pleas for attention and allows for a few brief moments to commune with your Creator focused and distraction-free.
Some other ideal times (when I find myself standing still) doing dishes and brushing my teeth and of course the all time favorite shower supplications.
Hoping someone out there finds these helpful.
Melissa, these are all great suggestions! Thanks so much for sharing them. I love the term “shower supplications!”
Wow…This a verse I feel He’d like me to do, but me, be still??!!
What I’m seeing in the comments though is being still doesn’t have to be a long stretch of time, but a consistent stretch of time, even if the length of time is only 5 minutes.
Thanks for the ideas…..
Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by. Being “still” can be difficult, that’s why we have to make a choice to do it. And yes, you’re right. I think most of us will have to start with small amounts of time.