Leeds Vineyard

Silence & Solitude 

Spending time in silence, or alone in solitude is a crucial part of following Jesus. We see countless times Jesus himself sought time alone to be with His Father. As we follow Jesus and do what He does, becoming more like Him, silence and solitude are life giving tools that we can use. This may begin in your life by just spending 2 minutes sitting in silence, becoming aware of the long loving gaze of the Father, and just ‘being’ with him. Or this maybe a walk outside, inviting the Holy Spirit into that time, enjoying creation. Psalm 46:10 tells us that there is a kind of knowing that comes in silence and not in words. But first we must be still.
The Hebrew word translated "Be still" literally means "Let go of your grip.” However you choose to spend time in silence and solitude, it is a practice that can become foundational to your relationship with Jesus. 

Dallas Willard commends solitude to us by explaining, ‘Solitude well practiced will break the power of busyness, haste, isolation and loneliness. You will see that the world is not on your shoulders after all. You will find yourself, and God will find you in new ways. Joy and peace will bubble up within you and arrive from things and events around you. Praise and prayer will come to you and from within you. With practice, the ‘soul anchor’ established in solitude will remain solid when you return to your ordinary life with others.’ 

Silence and solitude are natural companions, as Willard puts it: ‘Silence completes solitude, for without it you cannot be alone. You remain subject to the pulls and pushes of a world that exhausts you and keeps you in bondage, distracting you from God and from you own soul. Far from being a mere absence, silence allows the reality of God to stand in the midst of your life. 

Practicing silence and solitude

  • Set apart a time and place to be with God. If necessary, let others know so that you won’t be disturbed. Try to minimise potential distractions and turn media and communication devices off.
  • You may want to start with just a few minutes and increase this each day as you feel able.
  • Allow yourself to rest in God’s presence. You don’t need to do anything or try to make anything happen. Simply be before God and be found by him.
  • You may find it helpful to use a grounding prayer practice to help you stay present, especially in the first few minutes, like the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”), breath prayer (as you inhale, pray a simple phrase: “Jesus, meet me here”; as you exhale, repeat another phrase: “Help me to know your love”), or meditate on a phrase from scripture (the Psalms are great for this!). 
  • Be expectant of God speaking to you during this time. You may want to have a journal with you so you can record what he says. 

Resources to explore
Invitation to Solitude and Silence – Ruth Haley Barton
The Way of the Heart – Henri Nouwen
The Great Omission in the Great Commission – Dallas Willard

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