Life’s constant stream of data and disorder can crowd out the quiet moments. When we are constantly committed to one thing or another, silence is rare, yet without silence we cannot hear God’s “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12), His “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12, NIV).

The Bible invites us to “be still” (Ps. 46:10). Jesus bids us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). The gospels describe how Jesus sought out quiet places to spend time with God: “in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).

Our deepest understanding of God may come when we dare to risk what we often call boredom. Silence before our Creator allows Him to renew our courage, awaken our creativity, and to form a deeper understanding of His will.

This desire for silence is an invitation to meditation, the filling of our minds with the word of God. Meditation uses the same techniques as worrying, when we look at a problem from every angle, but it focuses on the Word of God instead. Turn the jewel of God’s word this way and that in your mind. This understanding of meditation prevents us from wandering over the line to mix eastern and New Age spiritual practices with biblical spirituality, or to seek out spiritual experiences that simply focus on feelings and emotions. This sets aside mantra prayers and the like to replace them with the truth of God’s Word. Instead of seeking nothingness, Christians seek a connection with God and fullness of mind.

Our devotional lives can become all about pouring out requests. God invites our petitions, but our time with God cannot be only that. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak (Eccles. 3:7). Silence is an opportunity to become aware of God’s greatness, and His great love for us. Holy awe and respect come when we realize that God is here, and we “let all the earth keep silent before Him” (Hab. 2:20).