Prayers to Lead us into Solitude

From Katie Whitmire

Prayers to Lead us into Solitude

I pause, Father, to commune with you. Help me to be still and know that you are God. Ease awhile any tense muscles or strained nerves or wrought-up emotions. Let me be relaxed in body and calm in spirit so that I may be more responsive to your presence. I pause, Father, to commune with you. Amen

Roy E. Dickerson in Daily Prayer Companion

Who am I really? What do you see in me that you would move heaven and earth to capture my heart? My life feels like a collection of other people’s expectations and disappointments. I do not even know anymore who I truly am. Reveal to me my true identity, my true place in your story. Give me grace to hear your voice; shut out all other voices, and let me hear from you alone.

From The Sacred Romance by John Eldridge

Lord teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them. Give me the spirit of the boy Samuel when he said to thee, “Speak for thy servant heareth.” Let me hear thee speaking in my heart. Let me get used to the sound of thy voice, that its tones may be familiar when the sounds of earth die away and the only sound will be the music of thy speaking voice.”

From The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Readings and Meditations on Solitude

“In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the result of our effort. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love, and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received. – From Out of Solitude by Henri Nouwen

Retire from the world each day to some private spot even if it be only the bedroom (for a while I retreated to the furnace room for want of a better place). Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart ad a sense of God’s presence envelopes you…Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. – From The pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

Settle yourself in Solitude and you will come upon him in yourself. – Teresa of Avila

The fruit of solitude is increased sensitivity and compassion for others. There comes a new freedom to be with people. There is a new attentiveness to their needs, new responsiveness to their hurts. – From Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Without solitude it is virtually impossible to have a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and Him alone. If we really believe not only that God exists but also that he is actively present in our lives—healing, teaching, and guiding—we need to set aside tie and space to give him our undivided attention. – From Making All Things New by Henri Nouwen

By participating in Christian Disciplines, we live out our desire and intention to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. As we do so, we are encouraged, instructed, healed, challenged, loved, renewed, and beckoned to God and godly living.

While it is true that God is in every when and where and that many other things besides disciplines contribute to our deepening relationship with God, w discover that it makes meaningful difference in everyday life when we set aside time, space, and ourselves to be more fully present with and attentive and responsive to God. Disciplines are like faithful companions on the way. The benefit we seek and desire most is deepening companionship with God. We come away from other pursuits to listen for the still, small voice that is our best friend, our beloved Savior, the Holy One, God. – From Holy Invitations by Jeanette Bakke

He is the one who can tell us the reason for our existence, our place in the scheme of things, our real identity. It is an identity we can’t discover for ourselves, that others can’t discover in us– the mystery of who we really are. How we have chased around the world for answers to that riddle, looked into the eyes of others for some hint, some clue, hunted the multiple worlds of pleasure and experience and self-fulfillment for some glimpse, some revelation, some wisdom, some authority to tell us our right name and our true destination.

But there was and is only One who can tell us this: the Lord himself. And he wants to tell us, he has made us to know our reason for being and to be led by it. But it is a secret he will entrust to us only when we ask, and then in his own way and in his own time. He will whisper it to us not in the mad rush a fever of our striving and our fierce determination to become someone, but rather when we are content to rest in him, to put ourselves into his keeping, into his hands. Most delightfully of all, it is a secret he will tell us slowly and sweetly when we are willing to spend time with him: time with him who is beyond all time. – From Clinging by Emilie Griffin

Reflection Questions

  1. How and when do you resist or avoid being alone?
  2. What tends to pop up into your mind when you are alone?
  3. What do you resort to doing when alone?
  4. What troubles you or makes you antsy about being alone?
  5. When have you felt most comfortable being alone? Most uncomfortable?
  6. What sense of God do you have when you are alone?

Spiritual Exercises

  • In a place where you can’t be interrupted, intentionally place yourself in the presence of God. Recognize that the Lord is as near as your own breathing. Inhale God’s breath of life; exhale all things that weigh on you. Simply be alone with God.
    • When it is time to return to others, leave the presence of God gently. Carry the sense of being alone with God with you into the next thing.
  • Spend fifteen minutes or more alone with God. You can do an activity if you wish: walk, run, drive, iron. Dedicate the time ahead of you to God.
    • After time is up, consider how it was for you to be alone with God. Was it hard? Good? Did God speak to you in any way?
  • Make the time that you spend in the shower each morning your alone time with God. Present yourself to your creator—all of your body, all of the dirt that has accumulated in your soul, all that God has made you to be. Let the water from the shower remind you of the water of life that nourishes and changes you. Let the warmth touch you with love. If you like a cold shower, let the bracing impact call you to live your life to the full. Offer yourself to God for the day. Thank him for the alone time he spends with you.
  • Set aside half a day [or more] for time alone with God. Go to a retreat center, quiet chapel or park. Don’t stay in your home. Take only your Bible.

From Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Resources

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Invitation to Solitude and Silence  by Ruth Haley Barton