Thursday, March 20, 2014

In The Secret, In The Silence

                The other day I was driving in my car and started to think about the Apostles in the book of Acts. They all had such a deep spirituality about them, and I found myself asking what it means to have a deep spiritual life. As I thought about these things I realized that it came down to my prayer life. To truly be in deep fellowship with the Lord Jesus, I needed to be a woman of prayer. But there is so much more to prayer than what I have been experiencing lately. I do pray, I pray frequently, I pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray for the needs of my family, I pray for the health and healing of loved ones, the salvation of
others, and so on. But prayer is not just talking. Prayer is silence, it is quietness in our inner soul that draws us to the throne room of God, where we see the desperate state of our sinful nature and realize how greatly we need Jesus in our lives. Prayer is not always about talking, sometimes prayer is just listening.
                Prayer, as I have always known it is a communion with God, a time of coming before Him and to make my requests known to Him. I sit before Him and I list off all my needs, all my hopes, my desires, and my dreams. I tell Him all about what I need, what I want and what I hope He will make happen in my life. But, as my pastor always reminds us, God is not a vending machine. God is not someone we can go to, put in our dollar of faith, push a button and out comes our desires. God is a holy God, a God who deserves to be worshipped, and a God who deserves to be heard. Prayer is more than just talking and telling God what we need, prayer is also listening to what He needs.
                “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
                Jesus tells us that when we pray we are to shut the door and pray to our Father who is there waiting for us. When I think about shutting the door, I picture a room that is filled with the presence of God, and by shutting the door I shut out the world, all the noise, and all the distractions that keep me from entering this place of quietness, this place of solitude. I enter into a place where it is just me and Him. When we come before God our Father to spend time with Him, it is more than just telling Him about our needs; it is also about listening to what He needs from us. Now, you may be saying that God doesn’t need anything from me, and to some respects that is true. But God does need us to give Him our full attention, He does need us to listen to Him, and He desires to tell us intimate things. Do we desire to hear these intimate things? Do we seek to come before the Lord and to shut the door to all that is without and even all that is within and just sit quietly before Him?
             
   My desire to have a more intimate, deeper spiritual walk with the Lord has led me to the understanding that only through prayer, only through quietness and lowliness will I be able to attain that higher calling. When I look at the Apostles and disciples in the book of Acts, I see a people of prayer. They understood and practiced the intimacy of quietness before their Lord. They understood the desperate need they had for Jesus, and they sat before Him, kneeled before Him in quiet contrition. They came before the Lord not expecting to get something, but just expecting to be in His presence. How many of us can honestly say that we carve out time each and every day to just sit in quietness before our Lord and Savior? I need Him, and the only way to go deeper is to become quieter.
                Praying to the Lord is more than just listing off the things we need, want or desire. Prayer is communion. Prayer is coming before the Lord and offering the sacrifice of quietness. Mother Teresa writes, “Listen in silence, because if your heart is full of other things you cannot hear the voice of God. But when you have listened to the voice of God in the stillness of your heart, then your heart is filled with God….Remember, before you speak, it is necessary to listen, and only then, from the fullness of your heart you speak and God listens.” (No Greater Love, by Mother Teresa, pg. 8-9)
                We come to God with our lists and our wants and our needs, but we never stop to think that perhaps He really wants to say something to us. We never even seem to realize that this time of prayer is for Him as well as for us. If we seek to have a deeper spiritual walk, then we must become a people of prayer, we must become a people who learn to sit in quietness and in complete surrender; waiting quietly for Him to speak to us in the glory of His presence. God is not a vending machine; He is our God who loved us so much that He died for us. He alone is worthy, we are not.
                This quiet time of prayer is also a time for us to see the needs that we have- to truly see the needs that we have, not just the physical ones, but the spiritual ones as well. I am a sinner, a sinful woman who needs the forgiveness and grace of her Lord and Savior every day. But so many times I come before the Lord and tell Him all the things that I need from Him, without ever even giving Him the time to respond. I
leave my list at His feet, put my dollar or two of faith in the slot provided, press the button and expect Him to spit out my requests. I desire a deeper, more intimate walk with Him and the only way I can ever achieve that is to become a woman of silence. The only way I can ever become the woman He desires me to be is to become a woman of prayer, a woman who desires to sit in His presence, silently, and who shuts the door to all that is without and within. He deserves that much from me.

                Father God, I pray today that we would become a people of silence. Father, help us to see the deep desire You have to speak to us each day. Teach us to come before You, to shut the doors of this world, and all that is within and just sit before You in quiet surrender. Father God, help us to become a people of prayer. In Jesus Name I do pray, may You alone be glorified in the quietness of our souls. Amen and Amen.