Pastor A. W. Weckeman May 2005
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35).
“Into a solitary place…” What a wonderful example for us. If the Lord of glory found it necessary to withdraw to a place of solitude to commune with His Father, how much more should we?
Seclusion is more than aloneness, more than the absence of sound. Seclusion also indicates peace and quiet; pure silence is a thing of the soul. So it must be with us when we seek to be alone with the Lord. Not just a quiet environment but the inner peace of a stilled mind. Listen and silent use the same letters.
The voice of God is only heard by those who have learned the subtle secret of a stilled mind.
“And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and break in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earth quake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it…” (1 Kings 19:11-13).
A word of caution, Satan counterfeits the workings of the Lord, including spiritual communication. The devil’s imitations come in the form of Eastern meditative techniques such as contemplative prayer”, “contemplative spirituality,” and other forms of mysticism. These practices involve specific breathing techniques, repetition of words, or phrases (mantra).
The goal is a self-induced trance that leads to an altered state of consciousness, the silence of all thought. These “New Age” forms of spirituality are subtle occult rituals wrapped in Christian terminology which open the mind to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. 4:1). Nowhere does the Bible encourage the emptying of the mind. On the contrary, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt. 22:37).
My intention is not to encourage believers to seek some “mystical silence” or altered state of consciousness but to meditate on the word of God (Josh. 1:8) to, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8). The point is to realize that God’s Spirit communicates with man’s spirit in a soundless language, a still small voice heard only by a quieted spirit. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10). “How rare to find a soul still enough to hear God speak.” Fenelon
Jesus said: “…true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24).
“A man worships God in spirit, when, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he brings all his affections, appetites and desires to the throne of God; and worships Him in truth.” Adam Clarke
Through the blood of Jesus Christ, every born-again believer has access to the Holiest of all, in the true Tabernacle,
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22.
Those who desire intimacy with the Lord must learn to “…dwelleth in the secret place of the most High” (Psalm 91:1).
The potential for Intimate Fellowship
Although Jesus is a living Being, we cannot at this time experience His physical presence; however, due to the spiritual union between His Spirit and our spirit, there is great potential for spiritual intimacy. It is essential to our spiritual well-being and growth that we take advantage of this opportunity.
Day by day, we must seek fellowship with Him, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8). We must cultivate this closeness to Christ, learning the power of tranquility, discovering the path of quietness that leads to a living awareness of God’s presence within.
Comprehending the potential and power of nearness is something the hymnists of old understood:
“There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God, A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God. Chorus
There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God, A place where all is joy and peace, Near to the heart of God. Chorus”
Intimate, silent fellowship with the Lord is the essential counter-balance that provides sanity in an insane world. A person can only work so many hours; then, he must rest. The same is true of spiritual life; following exposure to the noisy world, with all its spiritual wickedness, sin, temptations, and trials, we must daily retreat to our refuge. The necessity of reviving our hearts by learning to be still with our Savior is a simple yet profound reality.
Troubled, I went up into the mountain to be alone with the Lord, sitting in silence on a mesa in the shadow of a huge saguaro cactus taking in the spectacular view of the valley below. The peace and quiet of the beautiful surroundings failed to calm the inner man…for some reason the stillness couldn’t reach my soul and spirit. Even though I prayed and prayed, the sea of my mind, the waves of anxiety refused to be stilled. As in the story of Mary & Martha (Luke 10:41-42) “troubled about many things” I descended the mountain feeling the same.
A few days later, while sitting out front of the house in the Arizona morning sun, reading the Word, I experienced an incredible peace. This time, the silent beauty and peacefulness of my surroundings reached into my mind, …penetrated and refreshed my spirit.
It was then the amazing experience of the night before came to mind. In some way, I had been made aware of the Lord’s touch, hard to describe; somehow, His Spirit strengthened the inner man, initiating an impulse to worship God. Even in sleep, my spirit sang songs of praise, and I awoke with the sense that everything was going to be OK, even if it wasn’t OK.
When I opened my Bible that morning, Isa.26:3 was one of the first verses I saw: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” The Lord was speaking to my heart. Indeed, much to my shame, I hadn’t truly trusted the Lord with my trying situation.
I had been leaning on my own understanding, giving in to a spirit of despair, allowing my circumstances and emotions to overwhelm me. I thought I knew better; I thought I had learned the futility of such things. Even though, once again, I had failed, the Lord in His mercy strengthened me, restoring peace within my heart…what a wonderful God!
“When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:29).
For additional information on this subject, see companion Article entitled: “Man’s Relationship with God.”