I love quotes!
I memorize sayings that add meaning to life. Why? It goes back to the blog post I wrote about big people being people who focus on ideas. Ideas can change your life!
One of the first sayings I ever memorized was this:
“A good life is like a ship of war. It has it’s own place in the fleet and can share in it’s strength, but can also go off by itself into the solitude of the infinite sea.”
That’s a good visual for the life that most of us would like to live.
But things get in the way…
According to a study by Texas A&M University Digital Library, “A conservative estimate has the average American consumer exposed to more than 850 commercial messages a day.” This includes all forms of advertising—TV, radio, print, etc.
The Nielsen Organization recently said that the average American watches nearly 35 hours of TV each week. That’s nearly a full-time job!
Bottom line—we’re drowning in “noise.” We are allowing quiet to become a thing of the past.
Is it possible that it is the fear of being alone that drives us towards the noise?
My friend Col. Harold Huff once told me that when we pray, we are to do it as one breathes. You can’t just inhale without exhaling. You have to do both.
He then related it to prayer. Many of us ask God for things. We’re talking, talking, talking—but never really listening for His answer. We are to speak our prayers to God (pray), and then listen for his response. Breathe in—breathe out. There’s a rhythm to this.
It helps to be in a quiet place when we pray, though it’s not absolutely necessary. In his book, “Celebration of Discipline,” Richard Foster says, “Without silence there is no solitude.”
Jesus was a great example of this. There are many instances in the Bible that show that Jesus regularly went into solitary places, so that he could hear his Father.
Here are a few examples:
And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. (Mark 11:35)
And it was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)
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)
Foster said that like Jesus, we must go away from people so that we can be truly present when we are with people.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. If the God of the universe needs time alone, how much more so do we?
So how do we do this?
I have a friend named Dave Strawn. He is the President of a large company that employs about 900 people. I truly love being around Dave! Why? His spirit.
Dave is one of the most gentle, soft-spoken people I’ve ever met. As a matter of fact, when Dave speaks, many times you need to lean in to hear what he’s saying. There is a quiet, tranquil confidence that radiates from him. Don’t get me wrong—there is plenty of strength there too. You don’t run a company that size without being a strong person who commands the respect of those around him. I would describe him as a man of steel and velvet. People are drawn to him.
Each morning, Dave gets up at 4:00 a.m. and spends time alone with God before his family gets up. He has a favorite chair that he goes to. First he reads the Bible, then he spends time in prayer. He lifts his family up and he prays about his day. He prays for those in need. He spends time listening to his Father.
In essence, he fills himself with the “right stuff” before he ever leaves his home in the morning. He is aware that God is really in control, so his worry levels stay low. It shows in the way he deals with people all day long.
Years ago, I memorized Psalm 5:3. It says, “In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
The psalmist didn’t say “at noon” or “in the evening,” he said in the morning. I’m not saying NOT to pray during the day, but I believe that the way we start the day is most important.
So what about you? How could you structure your mornings so that you have a little more solitude and time to hear His voice?