Learning to Wait on The Lord in Silence and Stillness

I panic at the idea of being stranded for an hour without my phone or something to read.  I am happiest when I am multi-tasking. I love listening to book on tape while cooking. Learning to wait on the Lord in SILENCE and STILLNESS, did not come easily for me.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, (Psalm 62:5 ESV)

“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 ESV)

My Story:

About fifteen years ago, I realized that I did not really love God. I knew facts about God just like I knew facts about celebrities on TV, but I didn’t really know God like I did my husband. I was a praying, Bible reading, tithing, never miss church, Christian who was uncomfortable with the idea being alone with God. “How would you like it if the only time anyone ever called you was if they wanted a favor?” God seemed to ask me.  “How would you like it if the only time anyone ever called you was if they wanted a favor?” God seemed to ask… Click To Tweet

The first time I tried to focus on The Lord without asking Him for anything; I was at a conference. I turned off the TV, I didn’t have a phone to turn off. Sitting on the bed with a note pad; I expected an emotional event. I wouldn’t let myself read the Bible; because I knew I would get caught up in the story and forget about God.

I sat there waiting  to get some supernatural high. I said, “God I apologize for coming to you every day and giving You a to do list, but never taking the time to get to know you.” Not knowing what else to do, I started listing God’s attributes like: all-knowing, merciful, creator. I would not let myself list my blessings; because that would put my attention back on me.

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After about a half hour, I didn’t feel any different. I read over my notes from the conference and went to sleep.  I am glad that it was not a warm fuzzy experience, otherwise I would have developed a craving for warm fuzzy experiences and not a desire to know God.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. (Psalm 42:1 ESV)

I believed that my soul could pant for God just like David’s. I spent two years reading the gospels over and over because Jesus said Whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9). Soon I started to see God more clearly in other Bible passages.

When I walked for exercise I stopped listening to podcasts, choosing to think about God or His creation instead.  Sometimes I shortened my normal Bible study and prayer time so I could just imagine sitting in God’s lap with me telling Him that I loved him.

Often I sit  with my palms up and saying: “God I trust You. I surrender my time, my money, and my life to You.”

The Holy Spirit started revealing more of God’s character to me as I asked and waited. Some days I wake-up feeling home-sick for God. I have to be careful not to harden my heart against it; because it is easy to say, “Not today I am too busy.” Of course, God knows more about my day than I do. I am learning that taking even a few minutes to sit quietly listening for God’s voice refreshes me. I may or may not come away any new guidance or the ecstasy of falling in love, but I do regain my sense of God’s presence in my life. I am learning that taking even a few minutes to sit quietly listening for God’s voice refreshes me. Click To Tweet

I did discover that by being still before the Lord, I get less upset about circumstances. Now I am less wrapped up in myself, my friends, my family. I trust God to use the unexpected for His glory.

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There is no magic formula that transfers the knowledge you know about God into an experience with Him.

My Advice:

Remember this is a spiritual battle, satan will do everything he can to distract and discourage you from learning to wait before God in silence and stillness.

Yes, God and I both know how hard it is because of your schedule, your preschoolers, …. Why did you think it would be easy? Mark 1:13 says that while Jesus was fasting for 40 days, He was in the wilderness with wild animals. You prove to yourself that you value God by how hard you are willing to work at disciplining your thoughts. This does not mean become legalistic or prideful about how much time you spend thinking about God.

Begin with spending only a few minutes during your prayer time. During those moments focus your attention on The Lord. Ask Him to tell you about Himself. 

Give yourself a bit of grace. Let yourself check the caller id to see if the phone call is important or if it can go to voicemail. Keep paper handy to list anything of importance that comes to mind. By quickly jotting it down, you can return to waiting on The Lord in silence without mentally rehearsing your to do list.

When you get sleepy as you listen for God, change your posture and position. Try dancing before the Lord using the music in your mind.

When satan is especially distracting try talking out loud. Even repeating, “Jesus I want to know You better;” is a victory. Try singing a praise song.

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Watch to see satan’s distraction techniques:

  • Does your mind go to things you need to accomplish, ask God if your idol is pride.
  • If it is worries about family or friends, contemplate if they are more important to you than God. Or do you not believe that God is trustworthy? Or do you believe that you love them more than God loves them?

I still have times that God seems far away, or abstract. But I experience the same thing in my other relationships. It takes an effort to reconnect with people. I have to make waiting on The Lord in Silence and Stillness a priority; because I love Him.

This has been so life changing for me that I wrote about it from a different perspective in “How to Create an Intimate Friendship with God.

Is it difficult for you to be still and silent as you listen for The Lord?