He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
It can be tempting to think of God’s work in the world in big, dramatic terms—like Zeus throwing lightning bolts of judgment. But far more often we experience God in stillness. Nearly every faith tradition has some contemplative component—spiritual practices of stillness and silence and meditation—and Christians are no exception.
Silence is something anyone can practice, but it does take practice! It can be difficult to set aside even a few seconds of silence, and when we do, worries and distractions can often fill up our heads with a different kind of “noise.”
Try practicing 60 seconds of silence, now. Set a timer on your phone, so you won’t be tempted to keep checking the clock.
After your 60 seconds is up, answer these questions:
Was it easy or difficult to stay still and quiet for 60 seconds?
What kinds of thoughts were most distracting? What do they tell you about yourself, today?
Next time you practice silence, will you want to try a shorter amount of time, a longer amount of time, or stick with 60 seconds, again?