Often in prayer we are asking God for things, either for ourselves or for others, sometimes we are praising Him or thanking Him and sometimes we are just talking at Him. What we rarely do is shut up when we pray. To pray in silence is no easy thing to do. If you are like me, your mind is always going, always occupied in some deep thinking or going over tasks that need doing, to shut the mind up sometimes seems impossible.
In my previous article I went over the basics of praying in and from the heart and in this article I will cover the basics of praying in silence.
When one has learned to pray in the heart one knows the feeling of the Holy Spirit, it is in that feeling that we learn to simply dwell in silence, to become aware of the indwelling Spirit of God to such a degree that everything drops away and the only thing that exists is God and His glory. To do this is a three part process.
Stage One Moral purification: When praying in the heart one should make repentance for any sins committed or forgive any sins against you.
Matthew 5: 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Since we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and our offering is praise, worship, thanksgiving…we need to first purify ourselves of any sins we have committed before we can fully enter the presence of the Holy Spirit. Once the purification of sin has taken place through confession to Lord Jesus Christ and the asking of His forgiveness one is capable of entering into the second part.
Stage Two Illumination: In this stage one becomes aware of a divine energy or warmth coming from within (Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.) that drives away the worldly wants and needs, leaving one feeling to one degree or another giddy, happy, joyful or peaceful. It is in this stage where the Holy Spirit teaches each individual whatever God chooses to teach them.
Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
1 Corinthians 2: 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
The individual in this stage will have insights into themselves or gain clearer understandings of scripture or what God has planned for the individual and other things of this nature.
The insights accompanied by the feelings of joy and peace can overwhelm beginners and the moments will not last long. With practice it is possible to become like Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus learning. It is a matter of learning to stop thinking and just listen to what God has to say. Learning to listen to the Spirit is a matter of experience that cannot be learned through reading only doing.
Stage Three Union: This stage is the most difficult to explain since so few are able to reach this stage in this lifetime. It is perfect union with God, this union generally takes the form of letting the Spirit command ones actions and one obeys those commands perfectly without hesitation. It is like the state of illumination but one is at rest in the presence of God and fully active at the same time. One must silence ones thoughts and let the Holy Spirit do the thinking for you.
I have been struggling for years to achieve this and despite all my prayers to be taught or be given the gift of perfect obedience, I still struggle daily to do as the Spirit commands. But over the years I have learned one thing about being in union with God-it’s not about me, it is about God and His glory and His glory alone. He is the Alpha and Omega the First and the last, everything begins with Him and ends with Him. Paul in his Epistles compared the Church to the body with Jesus as the head and we being his limbs, well just as the mind commands the hand we must be like the hand and obey the mind. That is the essence of all prayer and all service to God-obedience. To obey God and His commandments is to love and trust God with all your heart mind and soul.
John 3: 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Deuteronomy 28:And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 18 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
Are you letting the Spirit move you as you pray?