The Power of an Ancient Spiritual Discipline

The Power of an Ancient Spiritual Discipline – by Robert Stearns

While there are many wonderful things that modern innovation has brought to our world, two negatives of the proliferation of technology are impatience and distraction.

Unless you live “off the grid” every day, your senses and soul are bombarded with dozens if not hundreds of voices vying for your attention. We are by far the most “distracted” generation ever alive on the earth. Everywhere we turn the message is: “You need this,” “This is most important,” or “Look at me.”  Whether it is political or social issues, the latest recipe, or sports update, the limited space of our concentration and focus is inundated constantly.

What can we do as we try to navigate a sea of options, ideas, and demands? How do we cultivate a deep communion with God in the flood of distractions?

One answer may lie in reviving an ancient spiritual discipline.

There is an expression of prayer and a way of connecting with God that is prevalent in scripture but not widely practiced in the Western evangelical church. It flies in the face of the frenetically fast-paced culture in which we live.  In some faith traditions it is embraced and celebrated, but in others it is largely forgotten as an antiquated practice with no relevance to our times. Applicable to people of all races and backgrounds, it is a vitally important expression of worship which quiets the soul and opens the heart to God.

We are speaking of “the prayer of silence.”

To some, this phrase “prayer of silence” may seem like an oxymoron. In fact, prayer without words is often one of the most difficult and yet one of the most fruitful ways to pray. The challenge of quieting the mind and stilling the soul to focus on God is not unique to our era.

King David knew the importance of this posture when he penned the words, “Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation” (Psalm 62:1). If that were not enough, he followed these words just a few verses later with, “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5). David was driving home the point to himself first, and then to those around him, that being silent before God takes effort, but it also yields amazing results.

When we take a moment to stop our spinning world, to quiet our heart and mind, and to remember where our true hope comes from, we will find our hope renewed and our hearts realigned in connection with God.

Do you feel like you are lost in a swirl of distraction? This week, maybe even today, take 5 minutes – turn off technology and quiet your heart.

This simple act of devotion may be just what we need to align our lives to what really matters.

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