This is the first, of two blog posts today.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15 NIV)
I found it really interesting that I turned to this verse this morning. On Monday, during prayer supper, at the church I attend, we were exploring the simple spiritual discipline of being still and quiet with the LORD. We were given some practical suggestions, teaching, and a book to read if we wish.
We practiced 2-5 minutes of quiet with our eyes closed. I personally struggle with this quite deeply. For me it was a very painful experience. As I explained to the group on Monday, I struggle with it because of what I find in my head and emotions when I sit quietly. Therefore I don’t participate in quiet and have little intention in doing so any time soon. Therefore you might say that I would have none of it! So, I was really interested by this verse.
In his book, From the Bottom of the Pond: The forgotten art of experiencing God in the depths of the present moment, Simon Small writes, ‘Contemplative prayer is the art of paying attention to what is. To pay profound attention to reality is prayer, because to enter the depths of this moment is to encounter God. There is always only now.’
I’m starting to think that this discipline can be experienced in different ways. It doesn’t have to be seen as ‘one size fits all’. As we discussed on Monday, there are various ways that we can experience closeness and stillness with the LORD. These might be: imagining climbing up on Abba’s lap for a cuddle, going for a walk, ‘mindfulness’ techniques, sitting in silence focusing on a word or phrase which focuses our attention on God, etc. You might even have others to add to this list.
During prayer supper I started painting this picture (which I added the writing to later):
Basically, the picture represents the LORD in the centre and positive emotions surrounding the centre, the further away we get from the centre the more stormy the emotions. This is echoed by the colours going from light and calm to darker. This seems to be true of my recent experience.