Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus The Very Thought Of Thee"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 6:6 – But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (NLT)
Some silence is golden.
The sound of silence was written by Paul Simon — of the duo Simon and Garfunkle — over several months between 1963 and 1964. In 1966, the song — which tells of a man who failed to communicate — hit number one on the Billboard 100.
Although silence can have damaging effects, it can also be golden. After teaching more than one hundred middle school students daily, I'm ready for silence when I get home. Following one end-of-first-semester party for our middle schoolers at the local bowling alley — one that my wife attended with me — my wife finally understood why I want silence when I arrive at home.
Jesus thought a great deal of silence also. People almost constantly mobbed Him, wanting to hear Him teach, see Him perform miracles, or do something for them. Along with those who wanted something were the religious hound dogs who constantly looked for some reason to arrest and even kill Him. Getting away by Himself or with His disciples was essential for maintaining His sanity and that of the disciples. It is for ours also.
A little white noise is good. My wife and I sleep year-round with fans blowing and the sound of crickets chirping. When there is complete silence, we can't sleep. But the other types of noises that often characterize a day — loud voices, machines, vehicles, horns, train whistles, screaming kids, shouting customers, television shows, and Internet voices — can drown out the voice that we most critically need to hear. While God can speak amid the noise, we're more apt not to hear Him when noise abounds. Jesus says that we need to get in our prayer closets — whether we take that literally or not.
Silence helps with focus. Not only do we want to hear God's voice, but we also want to focus on what He's saying. We need to hear Him clearly so that we can think soberly. Silence is necessary for accomplishing this task.
Obedience is easier when we can hear God unmistakably and focus on what He's saying. When we obey, peace follows. We reach peace when we submit to God's will and consistently follow it. Anything less will produce noise.
Let each of us find a place and time daily to be silent before God.
Prayer: Father, we long for silence so that we can hear Your Spirit speak clearly to our spirits. Amen.