Silence

I recently took a weekend away with a number of close Godly men where we studied how to better communicate with God, not just in how we pray, but in how we listen.

si·lence

noun

1. absence of any sound or noise; stillness.
2. the state or fact of being silent;  muteness.
3. absence or omission of mention, comment, or expressed concern: the conspicuous silence of our newspapers on local graft.
4. the state of being forgotten; oblivion: in the news again after years of silence.
5. concealment; secrecy.
verb

6. to put or bring to silence; still.
7. to put (doubts, fears, etc.) to rest; quiet.
8. Military . to still (enemy guns), as by more effective fire.
Psalm 46 instructs us to be still, which matches up perfectly with the first definition of the word silence.  We are unable to pay attention to an all-powerful God, who speaks quietly so as not to destroy the foundations of the universe with his might, unless we can be still. In addition to that, if we wish to hear the voice of God, we cannot be talking to him (muteness).  God wants us to consciously listen for him.
The third definition applies more to how we communicate with God.  If we are constantly asking for things, then we are no more open to hearing God than if we did not pray at all.  I do not spend my whole day asking my wife for things, but rather we speak with each other.  The same should be true of your conversations with God.  If I spent my day just asking my wife to do stuff for me and never spent time adoring her or listening to her speak, she would quickly tune me out.
The fifth definition correlates with another instruction given to us in the book of Matthew where we are to pray in secret.  How else can you show God that you are committed to spending earnest time with Him unless you set yourself apart and eliminate all of the distractions that keep you from fully engaging?
God uses silence also.  He uses it to quiet our hearts and soothe our souls.  When we are tormented and hurting, we are like Job in the following passage.
I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil. Job 3:26
Consider this final passage about silence. If you were ever to truly achieve it, creation itself would cry out.  How amazing would it be to hear all of creation shouting to the Lord?
I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out. Luke 19:40
Next time you sit down to pray, find some time for silence. Listen to God.  Let Him speak for a change.  He has something powerful He wants to tell you if you just slow down, still your thoughts, and silence your lips.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
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