Friday, July 12, 2013

Prayer, Solitude, and Silence (Prayer Summer)

Green Darner dragonfly in my backyard

Dallas Willard, in Knowing Christ Today, writes on the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence.

"Among the practices that we learn to engage in to enable effectual focus upon Christ is a combination of solitude and silence. You have only to look at the lives of those most successful in living with Christ to see that this is so."
  • Success with Christ involves spending much alone time with him, attending to God and conversing with God.. Like success in marriage involves husband and wife spending much alone time with one another, attending to one another and talking together.
"To go into solitude means to be alone and do nothing for lengthy periods of time. That is necessary to break the grip of a God-alienated world over us at the level of our constant habits and preoccupations."
  • This kind of a "doing nothing" is actually a "doing something." This is counterintuitive in our hyper-texting-multi-tasking world. In such a world there is no focus. There's no "one thing," but rather many things. The many things create the fragmented, poly-psuchos (many-hearted) soul. In the first century we saw the "double-minded person." Today we have the poly-minded person. Solitude can pull the self together and make it whole again. 
"Silence means to eliminate noise, including the noise of our own mouth. It further frees us to move into the life that is eternal."
  • Our world is wordy and noisy and pause-less. The song our world sings fills its measures with countless notes and no rests. In our world-system there is no rest for our souls. One must, therefore, get intentional and choose silence. Since the Kingdom of God is not really about talk anyway, silence can be a gateway to power.
Solitude and silence "allow God to reoccupy the places in our lives where only he belongs... Once established in our mind, soul, body, and social involvements, they go with us wherever we are and need to be renewed only periodically by special times of practice."
  • These disciplines morph our souls and minds and bodies, and we become peaceful persons (rather than irritible persons), expectant persons (rather than angry persons whose expectations are unmet), and relational persons (rather than lonely persons).