The spiritual benefits of silence and solitude in the life of a Christian: Perhaps it could be argued that in a busy  world, solitude and silence are key ingredients, but people find them difficult to come to terms with.

I would like to raise two simple questions for the readers: Are they keys to you and, if so, why are they so  important?

Solitude is essential if one want to live a life that is not destructive. If we want to accept our aloneness in a way  that it becomes creative and not destructive, solitude is the way to embrace, to befriend our aloneness as a positive  gift. We need time alone for reflection and insight and for that solitude is an important tool for personal, spiritual and mental self-restoration.

Sometime spending time just sitting on a bench. If weather it’s cold or rainy, and as I watch the sky from inside. I  lose track of time as I sketch or write or observe birds in the air. I find that I can choose what to think about instead  of having concerns or ideas choose me. I can work through a question or a choice. Or I can just rest and let the  time be a kind of prayer. At some point I realize that a space has opened up in me, that something has displaced my  fears and restlessness. I’m freed from spinning and unproductive thoughts, freed from obsessions, plans, and regrets.

Solitude is such an enormous discipline in which we deal with loneliness in such a way that it doesn't destroy us or  others, but instead becomes a place to discover the truth of who we are. We are created by a God who wants all our  attention and who wants to give us all the love we need. “Solitude is the place where we go in order to hear the truth about ourselves”.

The Christian community is "a community of people who remind each other who they truly are the beloved of God." The challenge is to have people aware, to empower people to choose and to know that they have a choice. Solitude and silence, for instance, are ways to get to the heart, because the heart is the place where God speaks to us, where we hear the voice who calls us the beloved. This is precisely in the most intimate place.

We are to be reminded that prayer is not spiritual gymnastics or heavy inner concentration exercises. Prayer is first of all entering into communion with God, and God's people. Prayer, I find, keeps me connected to God. Prayer has a spiritually strengthening effect on every aspect of our personality. Prayer is the primary way that God chooses to change us into his likeness, in prayer, God revels to us the hiding places we have from him and He graciously frees us from them.

John Wesley said, ‘God does nothing but in answer to prayer’. We should ‘precede, enfolds and follow’ everything we do with prayer.’ Prayer causes our love for others to increase. Jesus himself teaches us that prayer is useful for avoiding temptation when He says; ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation’ (Mt. 26:41).

That is why solitude, community and silence are all so significant, because we believe in principle that the powers of darkness have been overcome. That is to say that we don't have to be a victim of it; we can choose not to be a victim. That is what faith is about, to choose not to be a victim. To the Christian, hope is the knowledge that we are being changed for the better as we trust in God's promises (Romans 8:28). It is the conviction that no matter the circumstances, God's plans for our lives are "for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope" (Jeremiah 29:11b).

It is true that God loves us and somehow how we have to be very trusting. Sometimes we can pray and sometimes we don't pray. Sometimes there's some solitude, sometimes there isn't. Sometimes we catch community, sometimes we don't. But in the midst of that, God is among us. It is not that everybody should just shut up and have some solitude! Solitude and silence mean different things for different people at different times. They are not answers to the world's problems in a formal sense, only in a very deep spiritual sense. (The article is inspired by the book of Henri Nouwen, Title: Beloved).




Pastor Mark
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