“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Nearly every day I walk for 30-60 minutes and pray. Sometimes I become conscious that I am doing all the talking, yakking away, reciting my prayer list. My heart may be in it, but prayer is conversation, not a monologue. God bids me to be still and listen.
What happens when I don’t talk? These thirteen things:
1) I stop, slow down inside. My mind stops whirling.
2) I look. I see things I never notice when my jaw is flapping, like flowers along the route and the incredible Alberta sky, sometimes a blue dome, sometimes with magnificent clouds, never boring.
3) I listen. I hear birds singing, leaves rustling. They produce calm in my heart. Sometimes I hear the Lord speaking, and His voice has the same effect, only it lasts longer.
4) I feel. I notice the breeze, the warmth of sunshine. I notice my emotions and they hear God’s command to be still. They stop whirling.
5) I taste. No, not from eating, but from imagining delicious things, like hot chocolate on a chilly, rainy day (like Sunday), and fresh raspberries, and spicy, middle-eastern couscous with raisins and cumin and cinnamon (last night’s supper).
6) I smell. The soft scent of roses, the stronger perfume of clover, the smell of grease and wood shavings that remind me of my father’s shop; how could I miss that?
7) I laugh. Remembering my silly dream last night, remembering a line from the Accidental Poet’s blog, remembering the power of God against the resistence of His enemies.
8) I think of plot lines. My fiction book may never be published, but writing it, even parts of it in my mind, stretches creativity in new directions.
9) I think of quilt patterns. The latest is a cloud of butterflies drifting across a leafy rain forest background.
10) I hear music. Not just those songs that stick in your head when you don’t want them (as in “It’s a Small World”) but “hymns and spiritual songs” that occupy my thoughts when God is in control of them.
11) I know how to pray. Instead of rattling off my list, He gives me thoughts and requests that I would not otherwise know about.
12) It affects others. When my children were small, I noticed that laryngitis in me made the whole house quieter. If I’m not talking, everyone is listening. Maybe they will hear the Voice of the Ages too?
13) It changes me. I am less apt to open-mouth-put-in-foot in future conversations with people, and I am more apt to hear God when it is very noisy. This makes the discipline of being silence most precious.
I am leaving this keyboard to go outside for a walk, and be still.