Stories of Practicing the Presence
The discipline of silence and solitude brings with it a mixture of emotions and perspectives. As a church within a church planting movement that prides itself on championing the gospel, it might seem as though we would be sacrificing too much in the pursuit of something like, “experiencing God.” Yet the testimony of the church throughout the ages and the example of Christ himself is that silence and solitude are not in conflict with the preaching of the gospel, but an integral part of the life of one who has committed themselves to it.
It’s with this perspective that we at Providence entered into the summer committed to practicing a form of silence and solitude known as the Daily Office. The challenge was to take two minutes each day to quiet ourselves before the Lord, to pray a simple prayer expressing our desire to be with God and to allow him to answer that prayer in the silence. Often our tendency is to check the boxes of spiritual discipline, assuming that the mechanics of a performance-driven world apply to our spiritual lives as well. That we can grow in our relationship with God in the same way that we strive to climb the ladder at work. Our desire in practicing this discipline as a church was that we would learn to turn from the noise and anxiety of a performance-driven world and come to a place where we as a people are deeply satisfied by God’s presence.
Maybe some of you tried this for a few days but quickly lost interest or motivation. Maybe you faithfully pursued this discipline but feel like you have nothing to show for it. Others may have had very deep and meaningful encounters with God along the way. Perhaps you missed the boat entirely and are wondering what this is all about. Whatever your experience or opinion, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on this practice in the life of Providence Church. So, we invited a few members from Providence to share their experience with us. Whether or not you feel as though you were successful in this practice or you’re thinking about trying it for the first time, we hope that this conversation might be an encouragement to you. Check out the podcast recording to hear these different perspectives for yourself.