This weekend my wife is teaching a group of people around this topic and I asked if I could STEAL what she prepared in order to SHARE it with you!! So read it... then practice it... and watch what initially will feel awkward and un-natural... over time... become transformational in you.
A prayer before you begin:
Unburden me, Lord. Unpack my anxious thoughts that replay in my head in a continuous loop.
Unburden me of defeating lies that say I am insignificant or incapable of being still for any length of time in your presence.
Free me of concerns beyond my control, beyond my power, beyond my responsibility. Let it be enough that you hoist all these issues & hindrances on your own strong back and carry them where you will without my help or interference.
Loose me even from my need to be in control of our time alone. Let it be enough that I am sitting here with you. Let it be enough that you are here with me. Just being alone together is our only goal. I have no agenda for the outcome.
Unburden me of the burden to “get this right” or perform some act for you. Help me let go of striving to accomplish something useful for your service. Let it be okay with me that I come to you, as I truly am, without my spiritual make up, exposed, unpretentious, yet totally protected by you as I arrive in my utter vulnerability.
Father, I come to you right now. Dispel any fear that I sit here alone. Still me now at the deepest depths of my soul. Quiet me with the peace of your all-encompassing love.
* During your time:
Settle into a comfortable position and take several deep breaths…inhale deeply and exhale slowly. As you breathe become more still, quieted. Gently let time become a non-issue. Begin to allow that which is usually unknown and unnamed within you to come to the surface. (Examples: anger, woundedness, anxiousness, ambition, frustration, envy, control, etc.)
Choose a prayer phrase that expresses your openness and desire for God... make it something not longer than about 6- 8 syllables. (Examples: “Here I Am Father, ”
“Come be with Me Lord, ”) Pray this as you breathe going into silence and as a way to returning to it when you feel distracted. You will feel distractions. Let them pass by like clouds in the sky passing over you. Notice them and then gently come back to your prayer phrase.
Resist the urge to judge yourself or your time in silence. The purpose of time spent here is just to be with God in whatever state you are in and let Him be in control. Trust whatever your time was like is exactly as it should be.
Close your time by praying the Lord’s Prayer, The 23rd Psalm or a prayer of gratitude for God’s presence with you.
* After the Silence:
If you want, for your own observation and understanding, in a few brief sentences jot down whatever you noticed as you sat quietly with the Lord.
Be at rest once more O my soul for the Lord has been good to you …Ps. 116:7
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him Ps. 37: 8
Search me O God and know my heart test me and know my anxious thoughts.Ps. 139:23
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Ps 23: 2
The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17
( * Like mother/grandmother beaming with love over a child—singing a lullaby)
The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 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. Isa 32: 16- 18
My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Ps 131: 1&2
*Recommended book—Invitation to Silence & Solitude by Ruth Haley Barton