My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:27-28 (ESV)
We live in a society that doesn’t exactly promote quiet. Stillness is a fading art that we need to regain. For it is in stillness that we can hear God.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “…when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6, ESV). The broader context of Jesus’ words is an admonition against hypocrisy, praying loudly in public to put their personal “holiness” on display.
But, look deeper at Jesus’ prayer habits. He tended to go off alone, and communicate deeply with His Father – Our Father. He got away from all the distractions – including His disciples. Jesus was always aware of the Father’s presence and guidance.
Part of hearing the Lord – along with spending time in His Word and prayer – is simple stillness. It is in quiet – away from the distractions, the busyness, the thoughts and white noise that inhabit the fabric of our days – that we are best prepared to hear and meditate on what God has to say.
Listening to God isn’t some mystical practice (although there is no denying a spiritual component to our relationship with God – He is Spirit after all). This is practical, tangible reality. It is when we are still, surrounded by quiet, that we are calmed to the point of being able to tune in (if you will) to the Lord and what He has to say.
And what He has to say is far more important than what we have to say. We so often think prayer time is just an opportunity to dump a to-do list of blessings on God (asked in gratitude, of course) that we miss the true blessing of prayer – the honor and joy of communicating with the Creator of the Universe.
Not that we shouldn’t go to God with our needs or pray for others. Absolutely we should! But remember, “your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8, ESV). Far more amazing is getting to spend time with God! You know, the Burning Bush, the One Moses couldn’t look at directly. The God Who is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, is also intimate with His children, one-on-one, in prayer.
Today I want to encourage you – if you aren’t already doing it – to find a quiet place, wherever works for you, and develop a daily habit of time with you and God. Somewhere you can take a few minutes with a Bible and a notepad and pen and just be.
Seek God in quiet and stillness. Allow no distractions. Think about the Lord. Meditate on His Word. Talk to Him but, most importantly, listen.
In worship and adoration.