I get frustrated sometimes. Left to myself I’d probably be far more peaceful, calm and less stressed. Haha now who wouldn’t be? However the funny thing is that a vibrant, meaningful life is not one that is usually lived in complete isolation. It’s not very healthy or even realistic either.
So the question is, “how do we become and remain peaceful, balanced individuals when there is often so much activity, noise and demands upon us?”
I’m discovering more the simple act of the prayer of quiet; of listening with my heart and centering in on Jesus, who if we invite Him is always present with us. It’s quiet in that place with Him, where we bring our minds in line with our hearts and spirits, and in that place we learnt to rest, wait and listen.
We are not listening to the sounds of the outer world but to the stillness that is within. We find Jesus more intimately there, and it’s in the quiet and even the silence that we can discover a deeper relationship with Him that nourishes our souls.
The benefits of taking the time to learn how to centre and quiet ourselves from our outer everyday lives is that we become more and more grounded in Jesus. It becomes less hectic and we discover that we can carry peace with us; a peace that carries us through the busyness, struggles and activity that is part of most of our every day lives.
If we want to live more often in this peaceful, calm space and to be aware of God’s presence 24/7, I’ve found it’s helpful to learn the habit of this “prayer of quiet”.
It starts with the way we think; that we would not think, say, or do anything that may offend God. That seems like a big ask, but if it’s a relationship with God that we seek, like any other loving relationship, it’s wise to make an effort not to hurt or offend the one we love and respect. When we do we just need to recognise our error and say sorry quickly, as hopefully we do with any one else. Our hearts therefore do not convict us and so instead of drawing away from His presence we remain close to Him and He becomes more and more the centre of our world.
“God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God, and we will receive from Him whatever we ask, because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in His sight.…“(1 John 3:21)
A centering prayer of quiet enables us to turn our attention towards God. We take a few moments or more to find a quiet comfortable place and:
1. Settle down and let go of any thoughts, tensions and negative feelings we may be carrying. We allow ourselves to rest in God and His love. God says to us, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
2. Sometimes its easier to keep our minds focused on Him if we have a word to say to keep ourselves surrendered to God’s presence. That word is something that will draw our attention back to God; such as Jesus, or Holy or Pappa. When you become aware of other thoughts or feelings arising take this as a prompting to return to that chosen word.
3. When thoughts subside and we find ourselves aware of God’s presence, we can let go of saying the word and just sit in the quiet with Him. In the stillness we know Him. In Mark 4:39 we read where Jesus “rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Jesus has the power of stillness. When we take time to be still with Jesus, we know God, we know peace, we know calm and our lives begin to slow down. In the stillness we find healing and our life restored.
(If in the midst of this quiet, distracting thoughts or sensations start to stir, gently return to your chosen word again to focus on God again).
4. At the end of this centering and “prayer of quiet”, (aim for 10 minutes to begin with) we can “step back into the day” so to speak, and give time to express our thanks to Him, and take the opportunity to pray for others and bring before Him any needs or requests we may have.
It takes practice to “be still” especially when we can be so busy and the “noise” of the world is constant. But it’s worth the effort.
Take some time today to sit with God in the stillness. His peace and rest are found there.
“Then God said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Prayer: Lord thank you that you are with me and that you want to be part of every area of my life. You are not far off or distant, but closer than the very air I breathe. Help me to take the time to learn to be quiet and to discover you in the stillness. May I be more aware of your presence and that you would be the centre of it all. In Jesus name Amen.