Christopher J. Harris

*Most people hate silence, especially awkward silence. You don’t need me to tell you that our society is constantly buzzing. But as strange as it may be, many times what makes prayer most effective is the total opposite of what we do most of the day. The most effective prayer experiences are the ones in which we are not multi-tasking, socially networking, checking off to-do lists, or even thinking and planning ahead.

Prayer with God is about being WITH Him – not doing something with Him. And what I’ve found is that sometimes being WITH Him may not require any talking on either your part or His. I know it sounds strange. But if scripture is true, you may only be able to really see the ‘hugeness’ of God in your situation based on your ability to handle the awkwardness of the silence.

There’s a very simple verse that many learned as children, but speaks volumes about the power of silence. It says in Psalm 46: 10a (NIV), “Be still, and know that I am God.” That same verse in The Message Translation says, “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

Prayer is designed for us to be able to take our situations, life realities, emotions, questions and discussion points, and place them under the microscope of who God is. This helps us to see them as God sees them.

Most people have a distorted view of what prayer is supposed to be. We base it on what we’ve seen in church services or on television. But in reality, a vibrant prayer life is initially slow-moving, awkward, and sometimes frustrating. It’s these very reasons that will cause a person-if he is passionate enough about developing his prayer life-to be deliberate, steady, and persistent until something breaks.

Here’s our real challenge – can we spend time with God, in prayer, without it being awkward? I believe we can. I don’t think God would ever hold us accountable for anything that we couldn’t do. But there must be a strategic plan on our part to make it happen. Remember, He wants this more than we do (Ps. 34:15).

Our answer to this question will largely depend on:

A) Our DEDICATION to the relationship with Him – how passionate are we about having this prayer time with Him?

B) Our DISTRACTIONS -how are we managing our distractions? (This will include text messages, television, music, random thoughts, etc.)

C) Our DISCERNMENT (or ability to distinguish between God’s thoughts and other thoughts) – is what we are hearing in prayer time from God… or from a news source or person, which may or may not line up with God’s Word?

D) Our DISCIPLINE – have I committed prayer as a regular part of my lifestyle or am I looking for immediate results?

If you aren’t able to properly deal with any of these four areas, the awkwardness of the silence will drive you away from God’s presence. But if you’re able to master these four areas, you’ll reap the rewards of a fruitful relationship through prayer with the most awesome God that exists.

There was this guy in the Bible who had an especially close relationship with God. God had given him a special assignment that many hadn’t figured out yet and I believe that one of the ways this guy was able to keep that relationship close was His ability to handle the awkwardness of the silence. That guy was Jesus. He prayed in silence often. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1: 35, NIV). If He did it, I think we’re challenged to do it as well.

Prayer, in silence, can be awkward. But you can grow out of it.

Scripture Of The Day: “Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

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