TEACHING: OUR CALL TO SILENT, ABIDING, PRAYER
Psa. 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Prayer is an important part of the Christian life. We are called to pray continually as the Spirit leads. Prayer is about us communicating with our loving Father and declaring His will. Prayer is powerful.
1Th 5:16 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Mat 21:13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,'
Mat 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
TYPES OF PRAYER
There are many different types of prayer, most of which are verbal and active. However God is wanting to restore silent, quiet, resting prayer to His busy people. Here are some types of prayer:
1) Thanks giving.
2) Praying in the Spirit (1Co.14:15) - tongues
3) Intercession (1Tim.2:1) - standing in the gap
4) Warfare - a form of intercession
5) Adoration & worship
6) Faith or healing prayer (Jm.5:14)
7) Supplication (Mt.6:11) - asking for self
8) Petition (Eph.6:18) - asking for others
9) Consecration (Acts 13:3)- dedication to God
10) Quieting prayer - silently being in God's presence
The way of the world is busyness, rushing noise and confusion. Quietness is something that has been lost from church life. Yet quietness and rest is the very thing that the Spirit leads us into. Grace is about letting go of our busyness and self-efforts and trusting in the finished work of the cross and our righteousness in Christ.
Isa 30:15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
Isa 32:17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.
Quietness, stillness, resting and solitude are all part of trusting the Lord.
Exo.14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Psa.37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psa. 46:10 He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Likewise the busyness and demands of life have made it very difficult to simply be by ourselves and alone with God. Even Jesus retreated to quiet places of solitude to pray and to simply abide with his Father. He set a good example for us.
Mat 14:23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.
Luk 9:28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.
Mar 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mat 14:13 When Jesus heard what had happened to John the Baptist, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.
Mar 6:30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
This teaching is about quieting prayer, not meditation. However we need to clarify that Christian meditation, as mentioned in the scriptures, is completely different to Eastern forms of meditation as found in yoga, Zen or TM. Biblical Christian meditation is active contemplation on a matter concerning God. The Hebrew "to meditate" means to mummer, moan, complain about, analyse, completely focus on something pertaining to God such as a scriptures, or some aspect or deed of God. It is to digest, ask questions about and work over and over, bit by bit, until we gain understanding and revelation.
Gen 24:63 Isaac went out to the field one evening to meditate
Psa 48:9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
Psa 77:12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
Psa 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
QUIETING PRAYER AND UNION
Quieting prayer, or prayers of silence, have great traditional and biblical roots. Jesus and the prophets retreated for long periods into the desert and places of solitude to simply be with God. Paul went into the dessert for fourteen years. The early church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries followed their example. These hermit saints of the early church became known as the " dessert fathers". Later, in the middle ages, these practices lead to monasticism were monks and nuns retreated into place of solitude to spend their entire life in prayer. Most of their time was spent in silence seeking mystical and ecstatic union with God.
Today we know that as we are the " bride of Christ", we have union with Christ by grace and through faith. However, because of the busyness of life and a lack of teaching we have sadly lost the ability to spend time in silence simply being aware of our union with God.
The following spiritual discipline is a tool that can help you quiet your body and your mind so that you can simply abide in God's presence, spirit to Spirit, without having to "do".
Use the attached step by step notes to learn the discipline of "quieting prayer".