Silent Prayer

I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
-Psalm 62:1

Have you tried silent prayer?  It has two components: You don't tell anyone but God, and you primarily pray without speaking out loud.  It is counter-intuitive and powerful.

All the words are here, describing silent prayer, in Psalm 62:1, and are amplified and further explained in the rest of David's song.  I wonder what the tune was like.  To be blunt, this is a song about people wanting to kill you, but putting your trust in God to save you.

I have prayed about hundreds and probably thousands of things over the years.  The most important or biggest things were crisis things and impossible things.  I know about praying and talking to others about the prayer request, then waiting, seeing, praying, talking, living, waiting, and praying some more.

There are prayers of request, petition, supplication, thanks, lament, grief, and anger.  There are also declarative prayers and prayers that involve binding and loosing.  There are also prayers of command.

There are also prayers of travail and prayers that involve tears and prayers that are just weeping, and even wailing.  And don't forget fasting and prayer or prayer and fasting.  You can fast from just about anything and it helps your life, prayers, and prayer life:  Fast from television, all electronic media, certain foods or all foods, or fast from gossip - the need to talk about other people, even if it is not malicious

Silent prayer fits in with many of the types and styles of prayer I just mentioned.  Silent prayer is a type of fast where we keep our prayer request secret and keep it between us and God.  And silent prayer is when we pray silently.

When I had some impossible prayer requests that weighed on my heart, I began to practice silent prayer during the north leg of my daily commute.  Sometimes I would speak during the westbound time and then get silent when I headed north and sometimes I would listen to podcasts or recorded material, but shut it off and go into silence when I headed north.

Without having this verse or any verse in front of me, I placed my self and my problem in front of God, in silence, like an offering or as material for sacrifice.  I often marveled at the fact that in the past, my way would be to "phone a friend" and talk endlessly about the problem, but now God is teaching me a better way.  Actually, in the past it was both/and:  I would do long silent walks on the beach and I would also talk a lot to friends.  The difference in the recent past, was like I was not aloud to talk about it, or rather God was counseling me to do things this way, cutting out the "phone a friend" old way.

And nothing in wrong with talking to friends and family!  It is good to talk and listen and communicate.  But there is something more and God's intimate one-on-one relationship with each one of us is so very important that it is the foundation of our lives that we can not live without.  Much better to be lonely for friends or companionship with people than to have many friends and loved-ones, but have God lonely for companionship with you, because we have neglected him or rather your relationship with him.

I had a funny, gentle dream once that made a point about savoring my relationship with God and not gossiping about it.  I was in a church setting and received a revelation or a word from God, and there was a phone, my phone, right behind me; and I picked it up and called my friend to tell him about the word, immediately.  It was like a television comedy where that phone rings, interrupting something, except it was me who went for the phone, when something intimate and secret and loving and gracious had just been given to me by God, "phoning a friend" rather than celebrating, savoring, and being thankful in God's presence in intimacy.  I learned.

Everything I need to know about what God is to me and what he wants to do, it given to me in David's words in Psalm 62:1
I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.
Being at rest, means to wait silently.  The "in God alone" piece tells us that he was putting all his chips on the table for God.  He is going all in, whole hog, or as John Wimber loved to say, "lock-stock-and-barrel, no-holds-barred, mountain-style".

Often, when we have a crisis, we say, "but I have a plan".  This has happened, what do we do?  We say that we could do this or that or try this or that or investigate doing this or that.  But there is a time when our only hope is God.

There is a paradox that we live in where we must completely put our hope in God, but we also must do something: faith and faithful follow through, based on God's faithfulness.  We can be fully in the place of reliance of God, in silence, and ready to move with God when God moves or take the initiative, as God directs or brings together circumstances.

Having grown up during the Star Wars films, I always think of that line, "your're my only hope".  God is my only hope for a number of things.  I am thankful that I can do many things, by and through God's grace, at this moment; but there are some things that I need God's help on, with, and for; or they pretty much will not be.

The word rest goes along with this idea of waiting in silence only on God.  He wants me to rest and not strive.  We actually do everything from rest.

But with the big problem, the big prayer request; where it is out of my control and there's nothing I can do to change what needs to change, what I want to see changed, and it is based on what the Bible tells me about how things can be.  With that big one in front of me, I wait, rest, and dwell silently before God, seeing God as my only resource.  Just the practice of doing this is a blessing, is helpful, is gracious, is healing, and beneficial.

Big God, little me.  When I do this silent prayer, I am "strangely encouraged".  I feel better, even when nothing is better, according to my senses.

I have come out of silence with the revelation that God has me, God has my problem, or the issue I am concerned about.  Things build up in me, in my non-silent world; and I return to the silence before God again, bringing my stuff and placing it before him, and I am reassured again that he's got this and he's got me.

Silent prayer.  Try it, you'll like it.