The weekend of October 5-7 I was at Quest with our youth; and, the theme this session was “still small voice”. Throughout the weekend we focused on using silence to connect with God.
Luckily we started in short increments, 30 seconds which grew into 2 minutes which grew into 8. 8 minutes of silence, 8 minutes of no phones ringing, texts going, modern worship music playing-just.. silence. Imagine a room full of people just sitting and not making a noise for 8 minutes. Imagine kids 12-18 not making noise for 8 minutes. Not just mysterious silence, silence devoted to connecting with God.
I won’t lie, I didn’t hear God most of the time. I am not good at sitting still and clearing my mind. Although, I did allow myself to focus on breathing, on being still and not needing to do 25 things at once. Even so, I became more connected with myself, with the youth and with God. I was able to step back and look at my life, and through the whole weekend I kept receiving, “breathe, it will be OK”; which, is something we all need to hear right now, a reminder to trust in God, to shut off our phones and listen to what God has to say.
By Sunday I was exhausted and my body was begging for movement. Two other churches joined HC Youth for a “yoga” based stretching session. Three different youth groups joined together just to move, stretch and be guided in prayer. I am all for meditation and centering prayer and being still while talking to God; but, as I stated above, I stink at sitting still and talk best to God when moving. It seems some of the youth respond the same way. So, we will be integrating that into our Youth Group time occasionally!
We will also be adding "Centering Prayer". Similar to meditation, we will go through guided breaths and allow our focus to where it should be (God). This is a useful technique as our youth enter one of the most stressful times of their lives, so far! This, with practice, will become a way for our youth to reach God anytime and anywhere.
In reflection, try changing the way you speak to God. Instead of talking, listen. Instead of pacing, begging for an answer, breathe, open your heart, set down your phone and listen. I encourage everyone to sit in silence for two minutes each day, at your desk, before you drive to work, as you lay in bed. What does God have to say to you? What does your body have to say to you? What is your heart trying to tell you? Practice stillness. Our bodies are often over worked-our muscles, our emotions, and our mind. Allow the stillness to consume you, to refocus and regain yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. You will be surprised at what you hear.