“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”
— Luke 5:15-16
While visiting Galilee Retreat Centre a few years ago, God started to lead me into a journey of pausing before Him. As I sat by the lakeside in the morning, listening to the waves splashing on the beach, I realized that I was all by myself. I pictured Jesus Christ standing before the Sea of Galilee with His crowd of followers around Him. In the lonely stillness of that morning, I was reminded that although Jesus spent most of His time in the midst of people, He also valued His private quiet times of prayer.
Matthew’s Gospel tells us that after a long day of teaching, Jesus dismissed the disciples and crowds and “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23). These verses reveal that when life got busy, Jesus got away from the noise of life and came purposely before the Father in silence and solitude.
I honestly am not comfortable with silence; I have never been good at being silent before people, let alone God. However, on that day, imagining Jesus by the Sea of Galilee, in the silence and stillness of the beach, I experienced the fullness of being silent before God in a renewed way.
Thomas A. Kempis wrote, in The Imitation of Christ, “The further the soul is from the noise of the world, the closer it may be to its Creator, for God, with his holy angels, will draw close to a person who seeks solitude and silence.”
I encourage you to practise the art of listening, pausing first for God to speak in your prayers. I know that as you make space for God to speak, He will speak to you.
1. When was the last time you were silent before God and listened to Him during your prayer time? If you cannot remember, now would be a good time to start.
2. What changes to your schedule need to be made so that you can spend time listening to God in prayer, instead of rushing into a list of requests?
David Nguyen is married to Joyce and has three young children. He has been in ministry at Ottawa Chinese Alliance Church for thirteen years.