Please continue to pray for what is going on in the Ukraine. An attachment below contains prayer points shared in last week’s newsletter. Feel free to share with others. Let us pray in one accord for God’s divine nature and protection to reign supreme in this area.
In spite of all that is going on, sometimes we need to take a breather – setting aside time to actually b-r-e-a-t-h-e. Two weeks ago, I suggested looking at some of the spiritual disciplines we see practiced in scripture. I’d like for us to consider – Silence & Solitude. Oy vey! I sure do hope that I have not lost anyone by the last statement. For some, Silence & Solitude might be considered “4-letter words”. We do not like the quiet. Even when we are out walking or hiking, we wear earbuds to listen to music or to the latest podcast of our favorite speaker. Others keep the radio or TV on all day – not to necessarily watch, but just to have the background noise. And the thought of refraining from talking to anyone sounds like pure torture. Don’t stress! Breathe.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are some who consider Silence & Solitude to be pure joy. Who are those people? They are not normal. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Silence & Solitude are often listed together probably because it is difficult to do one without doing the other. Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the two as follows. Silence = the forbearance of speech or noise; synonym = muteness. Solitude = the quality or state of being alone or remote from society; synonym = seclusion. Before going any further, one may consider these two disciplines the same as having “quiet time”. For some of us this may be true. For others a quiet time may be spending a few minutes in scripture or devotional, praying for a moment or two, and then beginning the day. So, let’s touch on what scripture says.
Starting in Mark 1:29 is a story relating to how people were bringing the sick and demon-possessed to Jesus/Yeshua. He healed many people who had a variety of issues. In verse 35 it states: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Later in verse 37 the disciples are not only looking for Jesus, but once found …exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”. Everyone wanted Jesus’ attention. Do you think there was a kind of survival need for Jesus to get away from the crowds, to spend time with the Father?!!!!
In I Kings 19 is one of many stories about Elijah. Beginning in verse 7, Elijah is told to head to Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. Once there, he complains before the Lord that all the prophets are dead and he is the only one left. Verse 11 – The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. Elijah heard the whisper.
I love this story because in the natural, one might think that Elijah would be able to hear the powerful manifestation of the Lord in the midst of a powerful event. How many times have we caught ourselves wishing God would speak to us using a bullhorn? Elijah had to be in a position of solitude and quiet to be able to hear God’s voice. If it was important for both Elijah and Jesus/Yeshua to get away, how much more is our need for “alone time” with our Abba Father?
Ecclesiates 3:7b - ….a time to be silent and a time to speak…. Have we ever found ourselves speaking out things that we wish we could walk back? Hopefully, nothing we would be ashamed of but still regretting we had not done some thinking before speaking out. Could spending times in complete silence, i.e. not speaking to anyone for an hour or for a day, help us to learn how to speak better – meaning to have greater discernment on when to speak out and when to be silent when amongst others? Proverbs 17:28 – Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
There is so much to share on this topic. I’ve included an attachment below that shares verses and thoughts on how to practice the spiritual disciplines of Silence & Solitude. I hope you will take a moment to read them and perhaps apply one or two to your prayer time, quiet time, or practice for the first time.
In closing, much activity has been taking place within our two active taskforces: Poverty Reduction and Economic Development & Opportunity. And where there is much activity, much prayer is also needed. Many times it is difficult to encourage prayer without details. Here are the details directly from the taskforce directors. PLEASE take a moment to click on the links below and consider incorporating some of these requests into your prayer life.
Blessings and Shalom,
The purpose of the Prayer Domain is to inspire and motivate people to know God intimately and create a culture of prayer so that the will of God is done in Tucson as it is in Heaven.