Pastoral Perspectives

Be Still

Active children cannot keep still or sit still. Active workers cannot stop their work even for a little while. They have to occupy themselves with something to do. It is difficult for them to slow down. In the Christian community, we are no exception. We have one activity after another to get ourselves busy with. We create more and more activities. We are never short of activities. The stillness of the soul is seldom pursued after by the people of God in many Christian communities.

The Bible has several references to this aspect of the stillness of the soul. In Psalm 37:7a, we are instructed: ‘Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him’.  We need to instruct ourselves to be silent before the LORD. We need to quieten our soul before the Almighty God. We need to have that restedness in the LORD.  When our mind is preoccupied with many other things, we cannot be still before the loving God. We need to cultivate that stillness before God. One way to cultivate this stillness is to sing songs to the Lord. If I ask you to completely keep quiet and be silent for a certain time, it is difficult to do it.

For me, stillness does not mean complete silence. “Stillness” means “preparing my heart to slowly focus on the Lord and then, immersing myself in His blessed presence”. When I sing song such as “Turn your eyes upon Jesus”, it helps me to focus on the Lord Jesus. Here is part of the lyrics of this song:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

I allow the lyrics of this song to minister to me. As I ponder over the richness of its lyrics, I found myself enjoying the presence of the Lord. Other song such as “There is none like You” enables me to acknowledge the reality of God in my life. Here is part of the lyrics of this song:

There is none like You
No one else can touch my heart like You do
And I could search for all eternity, Lord
And find, there is none like You.

It helps me to focus on God rather than on self or on others. The stillness of the soul is caught up in the wonderful presence of God.

In Psalm 46:10, it was recorded as “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The wonderful knowledge of God comes through the stillness of the soul. The reality of God touches the innermost being of our soul. To know that God is God, we have to immerse ourselves in His blessed presence.  To enter the very presence of God requires our determination and discipline to spend that undivided, undistracted time with Him. Having suitable songs and solitude help to re-focus our thoughts on the Almighty God.  Having the words of God enhances the sweet encounter with God. I have personally learnt the blessedness of God’s wonderful presence in my life. It is my hope and prayer that each of us will discover this blessedness for ourselves. “Be still” is what the Word of God instructs us to cultivate in our lives. When God is our preoccupation, other things become of no significance.  We are caught up in enjoying Him and Him alone and the fellowship with Him is so wonderful and beyond description. Let us, therefore, discipline ourselves to “Be Still” before the Lord our God. Amen.

Another way to cultivate this stillness is to write down your prayers which you want to utter to the Lord. Sometimes, when you want to pray, no thoughts flow through your mind and no words come forth from your mouth. You just have to start writing down what you want to tell God on a notebook or on a piece of paper. One day, while I was in my room, I wanted to pray but no words came out from my mouth. When I started writing down my prayer, I began to see my thought patterns started flowing from my mind. Sometimes, you just had to utter a simple prayer: “Lord God Almighty, I want to talk with You through prayer.  Please lead me in prayer. Amen.” The Lord knows the desire of our heart. If you sincerely ask Him, He will answer you. In those carved-out times, I discovered that writing down my prayers and then, praying them aloud to God enriched my encounter with God. I was able to focus on God and His Word when I learnt to cultivate this habit of writing down my prayers.

To me, this is what it means to “Be still before the Lord.” Besides praying to God, I also learn to listen to God. It is always good to have pauses in-between prayers so that you can give some time to listen to what God may be speaking to you. As you come to God and learning to wait upon the Lord, you are cultivating the stillness of your soul.

Therefore, let us not neglect the necessity of coming to God in such a manner, that is, “Be still before the Lord”. May all of us learn to enjoy the presence of the Lord by being still before Him!