I did something this morning that was hard. I was surprised how hard it was. But it absolutely seemed the right thing to do.
I sat and was silent.
For many months I have been trying to pray with more discipline. Not just pray when the need strikes, but pray with more purpose. You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t that part of your pastor’s job description? Didn’t you get that habit established in divinity school?” Right. I know that we usually want clergy folks to be holy enough for all of us, or really, instead of us, but it doesn’t work that way. I am just as prone to not be present to God as anybody. We pastors may blow it on these realities more than the average person because we easily fool ourselves into thinking that planning a service, preparing a sermon is the same thing as actually walking with God.
But, because I have had a plan about praying that includes putting prayer requests on index cards, setting aside a certain amount of time to go through the cards, I have been praying more. (And feeling a bit proud of it too, I must admit. Look at me, the spiritual guy.)
As I was waking up this morning I found myself thinking about how much I had run my mouth in multiple conversations yesterday, and felt like God might be saying, “How about shutting up this morning. Be silent.”
So, except for praying for a close friend who had major surgery yesterday, I attempted to be silent. And I don’t mean just not talking aloud. I mean not talking in my head, either. Stilling my thoughts.
The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:20.
I thought of this verse because when I was a kid the choir at my church usually started the service by singing a song based on these words. I only remembered the verse because I remembered the song.
As I sat on my back porch it took about ten seconds for spiritual ADD to kick him. I immediately thought about everything I have to get done today. Be silent.
There are a lot of birds our here. Be silent.
I should have treated the brown patch in my yard already. Be silent.
Is that interstate 40 I hear? Wow, how many miles away is that? Hmm . . it’s just one sound, a background roar. Be silent.
Is that other noise the buzz of insects or do I have tinnitus from hearing loss? Would I make an appointment with my primary or call an ear doctor and get tested? Am I being a hypochondriac again? Be silent.
How long have I done this so far? Be silent.
Is this dumb? Be silent.
Hmmm . . . ..
Forgive the arrogance of my frantic speech. Especially in prayer.
This should be normal. Not weird, not hard.
God in place.
Me in place.
Where did the time go?
I’ll be back God. In silence.
Today I won’t forget this, Lord.
Here we go.
Silence – try it. I dare you.