The Spiritual Discipline of

Silence, Stillness & Solitude

Defining Terms

  • Solitude: The practice of being absent from other people and things to be attentive to God.
  • Silence: The practice of quieting every inner and outer voice to be attentive to God.
  • Stillness: The practice of letting go of our grip on life to relax in God.

Scripture on Stillness and Silence

  • "Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
  • "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7
  • Moses answered, “Do not be afraid… The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus. 14:13-14
  • "When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent." Psalms 4:4-5
  • "Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near." Zephaniah 1:7

Guidelines for Silence and Stillness

By Pete Scazzero, from his blog entry: Silence - The Oxygen of a Christian Leadership

Silence forces us to face our “inner monsters,” confronting us with our addiction to being in control, and bringing us face to face with demonic powers and principalities. Why? They rage to prevent us from the deep knowing of God that comes out of being still before Him, or relaxing as one OT scholar translates it (Ps. 46:10). Few spiritual practices are more transformative and important.

Set your timer each day for 5 to 10 minutes over the next week. And consider the following guidelines...

  1. Sit down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths to help you settle into silence.
  2. Choose a very simple prayer to express your openness and desire for God. (e.g. Abba, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Here I am, Come Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus have mercy on me)
  3. Offer this prayer to Jesus, allowing His will full access in your life.
  4. When you become distracted, offer again your simple prayer back to God.

The Benefits and Blessings of Silence

By Pete Scazzero from his blog entry: Lose Life to Find It

Maggie Ross, in her Silence: A User’s Guide – Volume 1: Process, argues that the tradition of silence was handed down unbroken from the time of Jesus to the high Middle Ages when it was suppressed by the institutional church. She also offers a picture of the unimaginable richness that awaits us when we live from the wellspring of silence:

  1. We shift away from the artificiality of the surrounding culture toward the beauty of beholding Him.
  2. We learn discretion, the ability to wait and see what unfolds, more trusting of the love of God.
  3. We realize how foolish our ideas are of how the world works or should work, letting go more easily of judgments, anger and greed.
  4. We become increasingly free from our investment in self-image preservation.
  5. We become more compassionate to others.
  6. We develop a taste for being still, especially in the presence of beauty.
  7. We influence others for good out of the changes God is doing in and through us.
  8. We get in touch with reality as we suddenly rediscover a pair of glasses that had been on the table in front of us all the time but had been continually overlooked.