"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Deacon Nick Francis shares how Silence and Solitude has shaped his relationship with God.
Practicing Silence Together
This week, as a group, you will have an opportunity to practice silence together. Silence is one of the most challenging and least experienced disciplines among Christians today. Living in a world full of noise and distraction, some of us may even fear silence. Yet, in Psalm 37:7a, we are instructed to “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him”.
Being still, waiting patiently, or remaining silent takes practice though. For many of us, this can often be uncomfortable. So this week we'll begin our time in prayer and in God's Word. Then after, take some time to debrief the experience as a group.
One of the greatest benefits of this exercise is it realigns ourselves to what is most important. This is an opportunity to step away from the busyness of life, away from social media, away from mobile devices, away from television to spend time with Jesus. We don't want the "cares of this world" to choke out the word (Mark 4:19). Instead, we want to be like Mary of Bethany sitting, attentively, in the presence of Jesus (Luke 10:19).
As a side note, the goal here is to not expect to get anything from God. We simply desire to be with Him. To experience His presence by quieting our hearts, reflecting on God's character, His truths and our relationship with Him. See the workbook for additional tips.
Here is a guideline for your gatherings:
• VISION CAST - Give the group a vision for the evening and for the activity.
• ACTIVITY - Read through the tips in the workbook together. Ask that everyone refrain from looking at their phones. Begin by reading, or having someone read, Psalm 63 and Colossians 3:1-17 to the group. Then invite them to spend 15 minutes in silence. If there is enough space in the home you meet in, you could have people scatter out. Acknowledge the awkwardness of the exercise but help everyone understand the benefit, the goal and God's desire for us through this.
• DEBRIEF - After the 15 minutes, join back together to debrief and discuss everyone's experiences. Encourage the group to continue practicing the exercises and engage with the devotionals in the workbook throughout the week.
Coming up next week: we will be learning about fasting and you'll be asking your group to do a set fast 12 - 24 hours together prior to your gathering. The goal is to fast together, then break the fast by sharing a meal and sharing how the experience challenged and grew them closer to God.
Week 4 Workbook
Get an advanced PDF version of the next workbook now, then grab a printed copy on Sunday.