Preparing for a Day with God
Preparing for Silence and Solitude
We seek silence and solitude so that we can quiet our souls and be attentive to God. Silence and solitude give God time and space away from the competition of social interaction, noise and stimulation. It is a formative place that brings us face to face with our hidden motives and compulsions, both good and bad. We often notice things we would normally miss. Silence offers a way of paying attention to the Spirit of God, and what He brings to the surface of our souls.
In some seasons, silence and solitude might feel like a trap that you would like to escape. At other times, silence and solitude might seem like an unattainable state of being that you long for. Wherever you find yourself on this spectrum, we encourage you to plan to embrace some moments of silence and solitude during this day to create opportunity to pay attention to God’s voice.
This may be challenging emotionally and practically. Trust in God’s faithfulness and grace that He will come through even if your practice of silence and solitude seems imperfect to you. Jeremiah 29:12-13 encourages us,
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)
Be aware and sensitive to the tendency to want to turn on some music, reach out to someone, or even to pray for someone. Those are all good things—but is your desire to do those things in this time of silence a prompting from the Spirit or a way to avoid what the Spirit is stirring in your own heart? Take some time to reflect with God on that before stepping away from silence.
- What are my expectations and hopes for this time with God?
- When, how, and where will I intentionally have times of silence and solitude? What are the obstacles or challenges that I have in finding times of silence and solitude? How can I prepare for those obstacles or challenges?
Practical Preparations: Physically
Pay attention to what your body needs during this time. Do you need to exercise, go on a walk or run and be in nature, stretch, take a nap? Plan what you will eat for lunch so that you can have a restorative meal, but also not take too much time in preparation or clean up. Try to get adequate rest the night before.
- What can I prepare in advance to anticipate my physical needs?
Practical Preparations: Spiritually, Emotionally, Mentally
The experience of resistance, distractions, anxiety over “lost” worktime, frustration over your plan for the day not working…are all normal experiences. What can you do to prepare in advance? Ask some friends/supporters to be praying for you. Remind yourself who “runs the world.”
- What will I do in advance to prepare myself spiritually, emotionally, and mentally?
Practical Preparations: Limiting Distractions
What are the potential distractions that you can control in your environment? If a messy office, kitchen or living space will keep you from enjoying this time with God, can you get some cleaning done beforehand so that it will be less distracting? (and if that doesn’t’ happen is there a way you can release those things to God heading into your time with Him?)
The temptation to be on our devices may be strong. If you are participating in a Spiritual Renewal Day, guided retreat, or some other event that will include times with others on your computer, can you set up a different space where you will go to use your computer as needed, but be away from it during the reflection times? Can you find a different place to spend the day other than your home, workspace or office?
- What will I commit to doing in order to limit the distractions of my environment?
Practical Preparations: Schedule
Sometimes it’s helpful to decide ahead of time what practices or passages you will use during the day. Take a few moments to look through the options and see if there are any God draws your attention to:
Make a plan and then hold it loosely. Leave some room for the Spirit to lead you.
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”