Silence and solitude is a powerful thing. When one is able to truly center down and wait on and listen to the Holy Spirit’s speaking it brings an intimacy with Him like no other discipline. There is something to be said about chiseling out time and space and stealing away with God that is good for the soul, but it doesn’t have to be limited to that scenario.
I recently attended a spiritual retreat with 350 women in attendance. The Word was preached with authority, the fellowship was rich, and women left the weekend having received a greater measure of God’s grace in their lives. The highpoint of our time together was the Sunday morning prayer time. Women were instructed on Saturday evening that this designated hour of prayer was to be experienced in silence. Each woman was to enter the meeting room, visit the prepared prayer stations and then find a seat……all in silence. The hour ended with a united prayer. As the “rules” were shared my thought was “there is no way 350 women can keep quiet for 1 minute let alone one hour”. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Each woman entered as a hungry soul searching for sustenance from the hand of God.
I learned a profound lesson during that hour – we can be alone together. There is a transaction that takes place between a soul and God in silent community. Sometimes words can be stifling. We expend a great deal of energy in verbal communication; forming words, trying to convey a message through voice inflection and body language. When we join together in community in silence there is a spiritual “cutting to the chase”. Not only do we hear from God, but we view one another in a whole new light. Everyone experiencing this time of silence in God’s presence begins to see one another through the eyes of Jesus.
When we join together in community in silence there is a spiritual “cutting to the chase”.
As I watched the women enter and journey in silent prayer I could imagine the upper room experience from Acts 2. This scene was the ushering in of the Holy Spirit in His entirety that ignited Pentecost power and the birth of the Church of Christ. There is a depth of meaning to the King James Version of verse one, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” Many other translations say “…they were all together…”. Certainly physical proximity plays an important part, but there is something to be said about the power that is created when we are all in one mind, one spirit, and anticipating a united outcome; the free-flowing movement of the Holy Spirit.
My alone time with God is very valuable to me, but I have been reminded there is a whole other realm of blessing that comes when we are alone together.
Written by Major Lauren Hodgson of the Spiritual Life Development Department