For in God we live and move and have our being.
– Acts 17:28
This past weekend, we hosted a contemplative retreat with Phileena Heuertz of the Gravity Center at Portland Foursquare. Firstly, being a part of this community that hosts events like Quiet (not to mention in my first month of being a part of it) is literally a dream-come-true. I'm so grateful to be a part of this Body. Secondly, spending time with the Quiet attendees is one of the most encouraging experiences for me. People from all around Oregon, California, and south Washington came together with many kinds of unique experiences, expectations, and hopes. Diverse unity is an embodiment of Divine Presence.
One of the many, many gifts that I received from this intentional time of devotional practice was a reinforcement of the significance of being spiritually silent. It is unparalleled.
Often, when I say this in groups many immediately refute this practice and invitation by saying, "I'm not good at it. I can't keep still. I can't be silent. I don't get anything out of it," and much more. The only catch is, those are exactly the sort of reasons that make this practice of devotion so meaningful and powerful! It's not about you. It's not about me. It's not about our strengths or preferences or opinions. It is simply about Christ's abiding presence; and the fact that this is so challenging and painfully difficult is what makes it so powerfully transformational:
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
– 2 Corinthians 12:10
Silent prayer is about weakness revealing God's strength within us. It is a practice that aims us at being as present to God as God is to us.
When taking time to be aware of the reality that God is (already) present in all and through all it doesn't take long to observe the humility, subtly, and silence of that presence. We can either bring ourselves to accept and participate with this amazing example of presence, or ignore it and vainly pray for God to be something other than He clearly is.