Do you seek guidance from someone then leave before even giving them a chance to talk or weigh in on the situation? Do you send a text then toss your phone into the Mississippi River and go on with your day? The answer to these questions may seem obvious; I mean who in their right mind would do that? It just doesn’t make sense.
In reality, many of us do this more than we realize. As Christians, we believe that prayer is a vital part of our everyday lives. It shows our dependence on God, and brings him into every aspect of our lives no matter how small. It is praying simply for wisdom and for God’s will to be made apparent in our lives. Oftentimes, we treat God as a prayer answering ATM machine. We put in a request, have our prayers answered, and then we go on with the rest of our day without giving it a second thought.
We talk on and on, pouring out our hearts and troubles, but we forget to listen. We forget to bask in silence while in the presence of God; we forget to seek out his wisdom and conviction through scripture and meditation. We sought guidance, then we left before giving God a chance to speak into our lives.
That was my view on prayer for a long time. I would pray to God to have his way in a tough situation in my life, but I would go on with my day after five minutes of praying and not even think of how to actually work through this situation. I expected God to fix my problem for me or at least give me an epiphany when I woke up. Spoiler alert, that isn’t how prayer works.
My dad is a man of few words. We don’t exchange many words, but I know that he does indeed love me. So, sometimes just sitting in silence together can be very nice. No words are exchanged but just sitting there in the presence of each other is enough. If this could be done with my Earthly father, it could most definitely be done with my heavenly one.
So, when I have devotional time, I always try to remember to incorporate quiet time after I bring everything to God. This could look something like 5 to 10 minutes where I just stop talking, close my eyes, and bask in silence in the presence of God. Now, I do not expect God to talk to me everytime, clearly telling me how to fix every single problem that I have. This is merely me surrendering it all to God, admitting that I can’t do this on my own, and actually allowing him to work and intercede in my life.
I remember when the pandemic first hit and everything was shut down. My roommates had left for home, and I was stuck in my apartment alone for such an extended period of time that I began to be affected mentally. I would bring all of these things up to God then try to mask the pain and loneliness with Netflix and gaming. It is fair to say that that was an idea doomed to fail, because I attempted to find solutions through my own wisdom. I started to take 20 minutes out of my day to just sit in silence with God. It was then that I realized I wasn’t alone. I felt God’s comforting hand on my shoulder pushing me to open up to others and be real with my friends about what I was feeling. That was the push that got me through that awful time.
That is how silent time looks in my life. Everybody is different, so it is best to try and do what works best for each individual. For some, 5 to 10 minutes is a life sentence. For others, it might not be long enough. The beauty of prayer and quiet time is that it is completely up to the individual person. It’s just important to implement some form of silent time.