Preparing for Pentecost

Psalm 46:10a: Be still and know that I am God.
By: Mary Lu Campbell, Chief Operating Officer, The WorkFaith Connection

April 11, 2018

How did Jesus prepare Himself day in and day out for the work to which His Father called Him? Many times we see Him drawing away to be with His Father alone. Richard Foster says, “Jesus lived in inward “heart solitude.” His ministry began after spending 40 days in solitude in the desert, and before His greatest sacrifice, He drew away alone at the Garden of Gethsemane. He tells us in John 5:19: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” I suspect He drew away to see what His Father was doing so He could know what He was to do. Can we expect as His followers to do any less?

If we are to be prepared to do the works of Jesus in anticipation of revival, even greater works than He did (John 14:12), we must hear from Him and

see what He is doing. We must also draw away to be alone with Him, to hear His still small voice and be filled with His Spirit and love. Henri J. M. Nouwen says, “Silence guards the inner heat of religious emotions. This inner heat is the life of the Holy Spirit within us. Thus, silence is the discipline by which the inner fire of God is tended and kept alive.” Richard Foster says: “Though silence sometimes involves the absence of speech, it always involves the act of listening. Simply to refrain from talking, without a heart listening to God, is not silence. The purpose of silence and solitude is to be able to see and hear.” When we sit in silence, we are brought to the present – leaving the past behind and letting the future remain in the future. This is a discipline that requires practice, but the rewards of silencing the talkative voices surrounding us, including our own, will allow us to hear His voice, making it all worth the effort.

When I was raising our four children, I struggled to find the time to sit quietly before the Lord. I remained in bed as long as I could rather than getting up early to be with Him when the house was quiet. But God was gracious and He met me during the dinner preparation hour. As the children played or did homework, there was noise and activity all around me; but I “drew away” into a place of “heart solitude” and He would meet me there. He spoke truths to my heart, giving me wisdom of how to move forward, convicting my heart of sin that needed to be repented of, speaking words of love and acceptance or giving me His prayers to pray for loved ones, my church, my city, nation or world. These are sweet memories and the times that fueled my spirit and soul. But now that my four are grown and moved out of the home, do I find I have more time to be with Him? You would think so, but the distractions and demands for my time and attention are there, just different. I still have to be intentional to exercise the muscle of sitting in silence and waiting on Him.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Be not be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few.” Proverbs 10:19: “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Before I speak, I should test my words to make sure I am speaking His words of Life and not fleshly words of Death. I want my cries for revival to be His Heavenly utterances spoken here on earth!

When and how He brings revival to Houston will be according to His sovereign plan; we are His partners here on earth praying for revival and preparing our hearts to receive Him; maybe we should be preparing our lips as well! Isaiah’s words when he saw the Lord on His throne were “Woe is me, for I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!”

Today, I challenge you to practice the discipline of silence and solitude in order to hear His voice. Be filled with His cleansing and love in order to be His ambassador here in Houston.

Prayer

Lord, still our hearts today to hear Your voice and see what You are doing. We want to be your hands and feet to all in this city and to join You in your redemptive work here in Houston.

Uncrowd my heart, O God,
until silence speaks

in your still small voice;
turn me from the hearing of words, and the making of words,
and the confusion of much speaking, to listening,
waiting,
stillness,
silence.

-Thomas Merton