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Campus Ministry

The Importance of Silence

By Elizabeth Montgomery, Campus Minister for Christian Leadership and Vocation

Our lives tend to be so busy that we have become accustomed to a constant barrage of general noise and often silence can make us feel uncomfortable.  This year, my Lenten commitment has been to build more silence into my everyday life.  In a sense, I have been trying to fast from unnecessary noise.

St. John of the Cross called silence the first language of God. In our prayer life, we’re often so busy asking God for things or thanking Him for things that we forget that God might have something to say to us too. A prayer relationship with God is a two-way street. We talk to God, but we need to listen, too. Frequently, we are so busy talking to God that sometimes it would benefit us to just be quiet and let God do the talking.

Silent prayer takes commitment. Like exercise, it is most effective when done on a regular basis. I have found silent prayer to be most beneficial for me when I have taken the time to do it consistently and with the help of a prayer partner for support.

In First Kings, Elijah was asked to go out and stand on the mountain for the Lord was about to pass by.  Elijah was discouraged, frightened, and upset because he had been doing the Lord’s work and he was the only one left.  A great and powerful wind came by but the Lord was not in that.  An earthquake and a fire came, but the Lord was not in those either.  After the fire, a gentle whisper came and that was when Elijah heard the Lord speaking to him.

Where do we expect the Lord to speak to us?  Do we expect it in some powerful sign or miracle? Or do we silence ourselves enough to be open to the Lord’s quiet whispers to our hearts?

Silence allows a connection to God beyond what words can express. It is a special gift for us to cultivate and use to aid our faith. Silence enables us to let God reach out to us. Psalm 46:10, says “Be still and know that I am God.”  My prayer for us during the remaining days of Lent is that we intentionally take time away from the busyness of our lives so that we may hasten to God who speaks to us in the silence of our hearts.

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