I fondly remember entering the sanctuary of my hometown Methodist Church as a little boy and being told to be silent and respectful as I prepared for worship. The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20 I admit the silence was annoying for me but in my young mind, it was something religious I needed to do. I did understand that silence meant reverence for God, but anything that told me to be quiet was negative and didn’t make much practical sense of how to worship God primarily in the silence.
However, today silence is a treasured and preferred way of worship and prayer. When I pray in silence, it creates inner peace and tranquility where I cast aside everything that is going on in my life and focus my thoughts only on God. Silence is a pure way for me to worship as I purposely remove the chatter and commotion of the world and its attraction to give God access to my entire being of who I am.
Complete silence is never fully attained, but the more I quiet the thoughts of my hectic life and focus my prayers and thoughts on God I discover His presence and overwhelming love for me. In the silence, I cast all my desires and wants at the feet of Christ. Silence and solitude are the interior of worship and prayer in the depths of my soul and heart.
Thomas Merton writes on prayer which helps explain my worship “it is the orientation of our whole body, mind, and spirit to God in silence, attention, and adoration. All good meditative prayer is a conversion of our entire self to God.” Likewise, silence is one of the purest ways of worship and prayer as I offer my whole life to God. Silence is golden in seeking the worship of God.
In my devotional time, I use a phrase that quiets the thoughts in my mind by repeating it silently over and over in my spirit. The desert monks in the earliest days of Christianity recited the Jesus Prayer as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.” They would use the prayer to concentrate and meditate upon God in pursuit of a moment by moment relationship with Christ. The repetition of the words was and is a process of silencing the recurring thoughts so we may experience the depths of Christ’s love at the core and center of our being.
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