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Week 1: Friday

Lent Reflections

Silence and Solitude

Lent is meant to be a journey over the course of the season. This weekend’s practice is meant to give you a tool that can assist you throughout the entire season. We are highlighting this on our first weekend but hopefully, you will find it fruitful and will practice it throughout Lent and into your regular life.
The practice we are talking about is sometimes referred to as silence and solitude. It is the act of getting alone, turning off all the distractions, and giving God your undivided attention while you become aware that his attention for you was always undivided. It is a way to develop intimacy with God. Ruth Haley Barton offers some guidance on how getting alone with God cultivates intimacy:

“When we sit quietly in God’s presence, the sediment that is swirling in our soul begins to settle.”

“The point of solitude is to be with God with what is true about me right now—whatever that is. Silence, then allows me to simply give God access to the reality of myself.”

“The presence of God is poured out most generously when there is space in our souls to receive him.”

As we go through the process of our soul settling, being true before God, and receiving his presence two fruits emerge: self-awareness and healing. In this space, the Holy Spirit is able to reveal our patterns of sin and where we are in bondage. This may provide deeper insights into discovering what is your specific “Egypt” or how that “Egypt” manifests itself in your life. God then holds us in our brokenness and confirms to us his love and in that love, we find healing. Silence and solitude are a cycle of revelation and healing through being in God’s Presence. We’ve offered a simple shorthand for how to practice but also provided a more thorough explanation of the steps.

Practice Shorthand

1. Set aside time
2. Get away from external distractions
3. Say here I am
4. Set aside mental distractions
5. Ask God what he has for you
6. Delight in God’s Presence

Practice Explanation

1. Set aside a time when you can go uninterrupted in being alone and can get away from the other duties of life. This discipline can be adapted for as small as one minute or for whole days. If this is your first time, aim for 5 minutes but if you are more familiar aim for 15-45 minutes.

2. Turn off anything that could be considered noise or distraction and enter into the time of silence by saying, “Here I am Lord.”

3. You may discover that you are more distracted than you expect. That is okay and is expected! This is why we call it a practice. You are building new spiritual muscles.

4. For every distraction that comes up, it may be helpful to mentally say, “I’ll come back to you later,” or picture yourself setting it aside. Knowing you can come back to these things when it’s their turn will be helpful for settling. You can later ask God why those distractions came up.

5. Ask God what he has for you. As you grow in self-awareness you may discover painful things about yourself, but as you stay in God’s presence you will also find he has healing for you.

You may discover that it was difficult to get still or to have an experience of being in God’s presence. That is common. This is more of a rhythm you develop in your life rather than something you do just once or just during Lent. As you practice it more, the time it takes you to get settled will be shorter and the time you experience God’s presence will be longer.


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