10 Powerful Reasons to Practice Silence & Solitude

The Spiritual Disciplines of silence & solitude are easily swallowed up in our busy lives. But the Bible gives us several powerful reasons for making them a priority.

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Deborah Haddix

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God is perfectly good and perfectly gracious. As such, He never gives us too much to do. This is something we do to ourselves. And all too often, this “too busy” state into which we get ourselves is a result of our being presented with good things to do!

For us – the ones that are “too busy” with good things – the following reminders might serve well.

First, is an insightful quote by Oswald Chambers.

Here Chambers is reminding us that the one aim of the call of God upon our lives is satisfaction in Him. It’s a call to a deep and intimate relationship. It is not a call to do something for Him.

Second, is another quote. This one by Corrie ten Boom.

Satan does not want us to live in deep, intimate relationship with God. In fact, he hates the idea so much that he will do everything within his power to divert our attentions from this aim. Now, while we can rest assured that he cannot take our salvation from us, we must be on guard against his thwarting schemes. One of the most effective of which is making service to our Lord an end rather than a means.

While great reminders to “too busy” souls, these quotes speak in general terms to the need for observing the Spiritual Disciplines of silence and solitude. Some of us need more. We need specifics. Consider, therefore, the following reasons for practicing regular periods of silence and solitude.

1. To follow the example of Jesus

The Bible teaches us that Jesus engaged in periods of silence & solitude (Matthew 14:32). Sometimes this observance lasted for only a few brief minutes or hours. However, at least once it lasted for several days (Matthew 4:1).

Jesus’ example provides us with something very telling in Luke 4:42. Notice that in this passage, Jesus was ministering to many people with desperate needs. Yet, right in the middle of it all, He left them and went away to be with His Father. Think about this. Despite the cries of the people pressing in on Him – with needs that He had the power to meet – He left. Jesus knew the importance of disciplining Himself to have some alone time with the Father.

2. To Minimize Distractions in Prayer

One of the most obvious reasons for getting away from sounds and surroundings that divert our attention is to better focus our mind in prayer.

Of course, it isn’t absolutely necessary to get far away from noise and people to pray, but there are times when it helps to eliminate the voices of the world as we converse with God.

3. To Express Worship to God

The worship of God does not always require words, sounds, or actions. Sometimes worship consists of a God-focused stillness and hush. We find some Scriptural precedence for this in Habakkuk 2:20, Zephaniah 1:7, and Zechariah 2:13. As you read these verses, notice that it is not simply silence that is prescribed but silence “before the Lord.”

There are times to speak to God, and there are times to simply behold and adore Him in silence.

4. To Express Faith in God

The simple act of silence before the Lord, as opposed to coming to Him in a wordy fret, can be a demonstration of faith in Him.

Twice in Psalm 62 David displayed this kind of faith. In verses 1 & 2, he affirmed, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be greatly shaken.” Then again, in verses 5 & 6, he says, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”

Verbalized prayers can sometimes be filled more with fear and doubt than with faith. Silence before the Lord can sometimes express more faith and submission to God’s providence than words.

5. To Seek the Salvation of the Lord

Silence and solitude to seek the salvation of the Lord can refer either to a non-Christian seeking salvation from sin and guilt in Christ or to a believer seeking God’s salvation from certain circumstances.

The words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:25-28 are appropriate in either case. “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him.”

Silence and solitude can help us come to grips with the realities of our sin.

6. To be Physically and Spiritually Restored

The need for restoration of the resources of both the inward and outward person is something that is experienced by everyone.

In Mark 6:31, we read, “After spending themselves in several days of physical and spiritual output, Jesus said to His disciples, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Notice that the need for restoration applied even to those who lived most closely with Jesus. Also, His prescription for replenishment was rest and alone time.

Like the twelve disciples, we all have need for time to unstring the bow of our routine stresses and enjoy the restoration that retreat can provide for our bodies and souls.

7. To Regain a Spiritual Perspective

One of the best ways to step back and get a more balanced, less worldly perspective on matters is through the Spiritual Disciplines of silence and solitude.

In Luke 1:20, we read about Zechariah’s doubt to the announcement that he and Elizabeth would have a son. Note Gabriel’s response, “And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”

Consider what happened to Zechariah’s perspective during this time of enforced silence.

8. To Seek the Will of God

Perhaps one of the most common reasons believers have for pursuing God in silence and solitude is to discern His will about a matter.

Jesus sets the example for us even here. “Jesus got alone with God when deciding who among all His disciples would be the ones to travel with Him” (Luke 6:12-13).

God often makes His will clear to us in public, but there are times when He discloses it only in private. To discover it requires the Disciplines of silence and solitude.

9. To Learn Control of the Tongue

Learning to keep silent for short periods of time can help us better control our tongue all the time. And there is no doubt that learning control of the tongue is critical to Christlikeness.

  • Proverbs 17:27-28 – relates the Christlike qualities of godly knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and discernment to the power to rein in words.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:7 – refers to control of the tongue in a twofold sense. There is a “time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” Godliness, therefore, involves learning when you shouldn’t talk as well as when you should.
  • James 1:19 – also describes power over the tongue in terms of the ability to keep it in check. (This applies to our online “speaking” as well as that done with our lips!)

You might wonder how the Disciplines of silence and solitude help with Christlike tongue control. During a long fast it is often discovered that some of the food you normally eat isn’t necessary. Likewise, during periods of silence and solitude, it is often discovered that some of the words you normally speak really aren’t necessary.

When we practice silence and solitude, we learn to rely more on God’s control in matters where we would normally feel compelled to speak, or to speak too much. We find that He is able to manage situations in which we once thought our input was indispensable.

10. To Get the Most Out of the Other Spiritual Disciplines

One reason the dual Disciplines of silence and solitude can be so thoroughly transforming is because of how they help connect us with the other Spiritual Disciplines. They should normally be the context, for example, where we engage with Scripture and pray. Silence and solitude are a necessary component of private worship. They can help us maximize time for journaling. And it is common practice to fast during times of silence and solitude.

More than anything, silence and solitude provide time to think about life and to seek God.

Ten definitive reasons to practice silence and solitude – motivators, if you will. Which one will you focus on this week? May I encourage you to skim the list and choose one? Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to focus on all of them. Choose one.

Allowing service for Christ to steal our devotion to Him is a fundamental failure. One that leads to deterioration of our soul’s health, stymies our growth in Christlikeness, and adulterates our relationship with God. Being busy for Christ is no excuse for not spending alone time with Him.  No matter the reason, through our busyness we are robbed of valuable time with Him.  We can, however, be delivered from busyness through the deliberate practice of communing with Christ in times of silence and solitude. 

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About the Author

Deborah Haddix

I am a child of God, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, niece, and friend who loves nothing better than spending time with those I love.

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