September 2017

Be still, and know that I am God

A few weeks back, I had the huge pleasure of leading a session on Mindfulness at the wonderful Church of St James in Llangua. There was a goodly number of people there, and we did four exercises, all of them, apart from, I hope, a few words of introduction from me, conducted in silence. There is something immensely moving about being together in companionable but purposeful silence with a group of others. It is a good thing in itself.

But, when talking about our prayer life, there is something much more to it than that. Words seem to dominate so much in our prayers, both in public, and, I suspect, in private, as we fill God’s inbox with people or situations which we wish to draw to his attention. But if we really want to know God more deeply and to respond to his love more fully, we simply cannot do that by insisting on hogging the conversation: no relationship can survive that.

The Psalmist understood that. In Psalm 46, there is the verse at the heading of this article, and it is as wise as it is necessary. It is in quiet stillness, when we empty our minds of our empty thoughts or pressing anxieties, when we relax our bodies and our breathing that we allow the barriers between ourselves and God to come down: and it is then that we can open our minds and hearts to him and what he wants to say to us.

That all sounds very easy, and, when you are used to doing it, it is. It does take practice, and that is something we have been doing at the monthly services Meditation and Compline this year. I can only speak from my own experience, but it tells me that, especially when time is pressured and life is busy, it is even more important to allow time to be quiet and still, not just because it allows mental and spiritual refreshment, but more that it allows God to get closer to you, and, if we want to follow in the footsteps of his son, then that degree of closeness is absolutely vital.

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