Silence & Imagination

Catawampus Spirituality ppt thumbnail

by Josh Benton

Sitting in silence is hard. There are times when sitting in silence, that chatty monkey in the back on the brain pops up reminding you of all the things needed to be done for the day. There are a number of times where I sit in silence before prayer and reading scripture. I’ve tried over the last number of months to do so. It’s a hard and tiring endeavor at times. It takes work to be still and quiet before God. It takes time and hard  work to sit still and do nothing but just be in God’s presence, not emptying myself but instead asking for the Holy Spirit to fill me.

And this is where the imagination comes in. Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, talks of both sitting in silence and allowing for one’s imagination to fuel steps of acts of faith. You see, sitting in silence before God is a time of silent prayer, a time to focus on God and to hear His voice.

God speaks to His people in numerous ways. He speaks in the still small voice into our imaginations. He speaks through other people. And most importantly, He speaks through Scripture. And when what we hear in our imagination during times of silence is aligned by Scripture, advances God’s kingdom, proclaims the Gospel message, blesses others, and is affirmed by others, there is something amazing that can happen. God can work and open doors that allow imagination to lead to acts of faith.

Yet it takes time to listen to His voice. The more we listen to His voice, the more we know it is Him speaking to us through the Holy Spirit.

During one of my guitar lessons, I was strumming along but it just didn’t sound right. My teacher stopped me and said that the 6th string was out of tune and  he quickly tuned it by ear. How could he do that? Because he knew how to listen. I’ve only begun to listen to my guitar. I knew that guitar wasn’t playing right, I just didn’t know why. My teacher did and led me to have a better ear for what to listen for.

The same is true in listening to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is a dialogue with God. We come before him with what is on our hearts. We speak to Him. We lay our burdens down before Him. We seek His guidance and direction and wisdom and discernment. Yet if we aren’t silent and sit before Him in awe like wonder, how can we ever hear Him respond?

God speaks to us in many ways through the Holy Spirit. Yet we don’t always sit still and listen. More so, we don’t listen for His voice to speak. And if we do, how often to we recognize it.

This is where it takes those steps to act out our faith. God can and does use our imagination to lead us to where He wants us to go. We have to but be willing to listen and allow our imagination to be used. He is able to and does plant seeds of His desire in us to let it germinate into an act of faith in following Him. Yet we have to let Him lead us by his Spirit.

As you sit in silence before God in prayer, how is He speaking to you? Are you letting Him access to yourself? Are you not emptying yourself out but allow God to fill you with His Word and the Holy Spirit? Take time to be silent before Him and allow Him to do great things through you.

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