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Silence and Solitude

February 21, 2024 | Deric Skinner

“I cannot focus!”

Currently, sitting in my office on chairs and barstools, are four high school senior interns and two ministers. The conversations bounce back and forth from the NBA Allstar weekend events, school work, upcoming spring break plans, and the sharing of “who looks like who” photos surrounded by laughter. In the midst of this, they jump quickly to talk about CIY deadlines, summer events at the church, vacations, college plans and then how to get more students involved in youth activities. 

During the random conversations, and the increasing decibel levels that reverberate off the small interior walls, I find myself finding it difficult to focus on the main task at hand…writing this blog post. Because of all of the distractions, I cannot comprehend the texts of the books I am glancing through or even my own thoughts on the subject at hand - Silence and Solitude.

Seems befitting of the topic. Maybe, just maybe, this is why in Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry, we find that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16). Or in Mark’s account in 1:35 it says, “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.”  As we mentioned this past Sunday, the time and location seemed to make a difference. 

You and I both know that if prayer is open and honest communication with God himself, trying to have that conversation with constant distractions around us will make it difficult, not only to talk but also to hear from God. And yet, we live in a culture and world replete with distractions at our fingertips. Solitude and silence make us uncomfortable. Even at night, sound machines are needed to soothe the nerves and help us relax. Did you get that? We actually are so accustomed to noise, we NEED it to be able to sleep at night!

The spiritual discipline of silence and solitude go hand in hand. As John Ortberg writes, “To learn how to pray we need two things: a time and a place…As for what time of day this should happen, the best idea is to pray when you are at your best.” Donald Whitney writes, “Without exception, the men and women I have known who make the most rapid, consistent, and evident growth in Christlikeness have been those who develop a daily time of being alone with God.”

So, once you figure out the time of day when you are at your best and have found a location to limit distractions, how should you begin? 

Here is one of the most effective models I have seen in a while to help get the ball rolling. It is called the ZUME Prayer Cycle. In this model, you can give each category as much or as little time as you like. In just 12 simple steps - 2-3 minutes each - this Prayer Cycle guides you through twelve ways the Bible teaches us to pray. At the end, you’ll have prayed for around 30 minutes. You will need a pen/pencil, journal, and possibly a worship song ready to play.

Let me know how it goes!










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Plainfield Christian Church

800 Dan Jones Rd | Plainfield, Indiana 46168