Be Still - Carol Krum
The Prayer of Silence
We live in an era where everyone is clamoring to be heard through the din of chaotic noise, bringing us to the point where we can’t even hear ourselves think! It is no wonder that the still sounds of the mountains call to us to come up higher, the rhythmic sounds of the oceanic waves draws us along its unending shore, or even the quietness in our own cars with no radio to distract our thoughts seems to be an oasis of calming solitude. There is a part of us that has been created to “be still” and the longer we deny that reality, the farther we slip into utter chaos within.
Growing up Catholic, I developed a need for the quiet, perhaps fostered by the reverence of the church coupled with being an only child, though I was very drawn to the families of 10-12 children, as there would always be someone with whom to play.
There was a chapel by our home and I would often peddle my bike from my friend’s house and stop in for a “visit” on my way home. There I would sit alone in silence with no particular prayer request, just “being”. I was raised without a father, no grandfather, or male figure to influence my life and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I read in Psalm 68:5 that God is “a father to the fatherless”. It was then that I realized all those years I spent in silence in His presence, my Father God was ministering to His little girl, speaking into her spirit His truths that would one day be the silent guide to her life.
I attended a Catholic high school and in our senior year we made a weekend silent retreat at a local retreat house. The second night there, I heard a knock on my door and my friends told me to go with them to another girl’s room, so I followed them. When we opened the door to the room, it was filled with cigarette smoke and the girls were drinking beer. I was so shocked, disappointed, and scared that I immediately left and ran back to my room where I threw myself on my bed and wept bitterly. There was such a sadness within, a grieving perhaps, because I knew I was so different and I just didn’t fit in!
Later that night, while in my pajamas and robe, I quietly slipped into the chapel and once again assumed my position in His presence. Oh, the comfort I felt sitting there by myself, but not alone! No words were necessary. I knew where I belonged.
Be still and know that I Am God!
As a married mother of three, I was blessed to make two silent weekend retreats a year for many years at the same retreat house. There is something so precious about going into a place of complete silence for the sole purpose of being in the presence of pure Holiness. On the drive up to the retreat house, I would begin to get butterflies, knowing but not knowing, the encounter to be experienced was already written in Heaven. And never was I to be disappointed! His Word says, “Draw near to the Lord and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 Ah, such truth, such sweet, sweet truth! It is His Love that draws us near in the first place, and it is His Love that pulls us into His heart, where all peace and all truth is unending. One cannot enter such holiness and not be transformed!
One morning I sat down with my bible in my lap and asked the Lord how He wanted to spend our time together. His answer was simple, yet profound. He said, “I just want to sit with you!” I placed my bible on the desk, sat back, closed my eyes and my sanctified imagination kicked into gear! I saw Him enter my “prayer room” and come over to sit with me. The rocker became a loveseat and He sat to my left, then wrapped His arm around my shoulder. Leaning into Him, I laid my head upon His chest. Time seemed to stand still; there were no words spoken. I slowly realized my left ear was hearing the sound of His heartbeat. The HEARTBEAT of Jesus! Breathlessly, I listened….and listened….and listened. At some point I moved my left hand in such a way that my thumb was then resting on my right wrist. After a while, I became aware that my pulse was in complete rhythm with His heartbeat, beating as one! Tears began to fall from my eyes, with no sound coming forth. Finally, He spoke, “I am in you. You are in Me and together we sit in the heart of the Father.”
Oh, to behold the beauty of His loveliness! It is there that we are truly made one with Him! His invitation to come away with Him is forever before us, waiting for our response. He longs to be in intimate relationship with every life He has created because, after all, He is Love.
In our human frailty we often define love in terms that create “borders”. If it fits our definition, then it is love; if not, then it falls short. But God’s love is infinite, without borders, unending, eternal, and I dare say, utterly impossible to capture with words of definition. It is a love that can only be experienced! Each encounter is unique, having never been experienced before and it leaves us with an insatiable hunger, causing us to long for more, yet knowing that there is nothing on earth that can be compared to such love as this.
This has served my own heart well to recall these beautiful moments where love kissed and Christ was formed more within me, where there was more of Him and less of me for others to see. Believe me when I say that I am still a work in progress! I hope that you will be encouraged to reflect on your own journey of intimate experiences with the Lover of your soul and to tell someone about it, especially during the Holy Season of Easter where He is so glorified in the Church and hopefully within the hearts of His beloved.
I close with this passage from The Passion Translation Bible Psalm 27:4
Here’s the one thing I crave from God, the one thing I seek above all else;
I want the privilege of living with Him every moment in His house,
Finding the sweet loveliness of His face, filled with awe, delighting in His glory and grace.
I want to live my life so close to Him that He takes pleasure in my every prayer.
In His shelter in the day of trouble, that’s where you’ll find me, for He hides me there in His Holiness.
He has smuggled me into His secret place, where I’m kept safe and secure—
Out of reach from all my enemies.
Triumphant now, I’ll bring Him my offerings of praise, singing and shouting with ecstatic joy!
Yes, listen and you can hear the fanfare of my shouts of praise to the Lord!
Enjoy your moments of stillness in His Holy Presence!