Be Still | Devotion
At that moment, the Lord passed by.
A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains
and was shattering cliffs before the Lord,
but the Lord was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the Lord was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was a fire,
but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.
- 1 Kings 19:11b-12 (ESV)
Prayer has always been difficult for me. I never knew what to say or how to say it. I didn’t understand how to navigate through it; whether I should worship, intercede, or just talk to Him. Even though I knew prayer should be as simple as talking with God (like you would a friend), I approached it more as a task to succeed in (something to perfect) rather than a relationship.
I am, by no means, an “expert” on prayer. I am still learning how to be sensitive, to navigate, and grow my own relationship with God through prayer. This post is by no means exhaustive. I am focusing on a particular vein of prayer (and there are many). As such, I encourage you to study the wealth of wisdom in Scripture in order to further guide and deepen your "prayer life."
"Be still and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10
A soft whisper. Stillness.
Not words one tends to associate with prayer. Yet, some of my most powerful and real moments with God have happened in my room, when I’m just sitting in stillness with my Best Friend. It is in those moments when His Presence overwhelms me and I feel Him wrap His arms around me and hold me close.
For many of us, it can be difficult to get to that quiet place in prayer. It can feel awkward and unsettling. I, like many, tend to pray in a certain order and am often assisted with lists and notes (and there’s nothing wrong with that). However, when I want to get to that place where I’m just sitting at His feet I put aside all of that and focus on just being present.
There is value in the silence when we pray. What kind of relationship would we have if I was the one who did all the talking? Let us learn to pause and give Him the opportunity to respond and speak to our hearts.
Now you may be thinking, how do I do this? I don’t even know where to begin. That’s okay, it’s something that you grow in and get more comfortable with the more you practice it. I am still learning and growing in this.
I will, however, offer a few tips that have helped me in this journey of cultivating stillness in my prayer life.
There is something about music that has power to touch the soul. I allow the words to become my prayers and let allow them speak to my heart. If you struggle with silence, music can help to eliminate that awkwardness. Put on some music, my current favorite artist for this is Steffany Gretzinger, and just be still. Say a few words if you feel led, sing along if you desire, allow the music to still your soul and pull you into a place of worship.
Always, always keep writing tools nearby. When I feel stuck and don’t know what to do or say, I pull out my journal. I write down my thoughts and prayers to God, like David did. I also write anything that I feel Him speak to my heart. Sometimes l write in creative prose, using imagery to tell a story that conveys a thought, feeling, or moment. Write whatever is on your heart, and try not to edit yourself as you write. This is just between you and God.
In my journal I use the initials G.W. to note what I call a “God Whisper.” A "God Whisper" is that still small voice that speaks to our hearts. I use a notation, so that they are easily identifiable as I page through my journals. In these moments of silliness I will return to them, reflecting and remembering what He has already whispered to my soul.
“What if I traded my own words to rest in Yours?” - Hannah Kerr, Listen More
Open the Word of God and rest in His words. I absolutely love the Psalms for this; they remind me who God is, who I am in Him, and the promises I have as His daughter (or son). Containing many songs and prayers of David, the book of Psalms makes it easy to read aloud as your own prayers.
You may laugh, but as a midwest girl I often think of meditation like a cow chewing the cud. It’s something you ruminate over, you chew on.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
- Psalm 119:15 (ESV)
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
- Psalm 143:5 (ESV)
Meditating on Scripture is not just reading in order to get through it and check it off your list. It’s a slow and meaningful read. Open the Scripture today and allow God to speak to you in the stillness through His Word.
It might feel silly and uncomfortable, but wait and be still. In our fast paced world we have a hard time slowing down to truly be present. This not only affects our day to day life, but it affects our prayer life as well.
Tarry in His presence.
Think of it like the end of a powerful altar call when no one wants to move or leave. That’s what we are aiming for. Wait and allow Him to move and meet you in the stillness. You will know when it’s time to leave; you might feel a release or a lifting of that atmosphere. If we allow, He’ll guide us to the next part of our day and empower us with His enabling grace.
We must leave the stillness, but we don’t have to leave His Presence.
Like any relationship, we'll become more comfortable talking with Him, and spending time with Him, the more that we pursue and deepen a relationship with Him. God wants to be close to you. Like a lover, He pursues you. He romances you. He wants to be fully known by you. The invitation is always there, but it is up to us to let down our guard, be vulnerable, and come to Him just as we are. Just as Mary did, let us come and sit at the feet of our good Shepherd.
Lord, help me be still.
Help me to embrace the stillness and rest in You.
I lay aside my lists and my agenda.
Teach me to meditate on Truth.
Whisper to my heart,
Speak to me through Your Word.
I come as I am, I just want to sit here with You
Come and meet me here.
Meet me in the stillness.
Nothing Else - Cody Carnes
Listen More - Hannah Kerr