"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
A wonderful promise from our sweet Messiah. I know that often I have sought rest. Through the struggles in my life, there have been moments I have rested in the midst of total chaos and moments that I have not.
I find that most of my worries come when I have not handed everything off to the Lord and I am percolating over them over and over again. I have seasons in which I am better at letting go than others. I have even had cycles or years that I have been better than others.
"Through the Prayer of Rest, God places his children in the eye of the storm. When all around us is chaos and confusion, deep within we know stability and serenity." Richard Foster
Some wonderful exercises that have catapulted me through more opportunities to release those worries more productively were discovered during my thirties. I was a single mother of three, newly graduated from University, elementary teacher.
There are three Classical Practices that lead us into that Prayer of Rest more readily.
1. Solitude slows everything down. I find that seeking a retreat center, a convent, a prayer house, or even going into a hotel alone for a few days affords me solitude.
I do not recommend staying at home for this practice. That doesn't mean that you have to make a big deal about it. I have found taking a drive up into the mountains with my harp, or journal for an afternoon or a day tends to give me perspective. Where is your favorite place of connection with nature? Where is you favorite place to get lost in your thoughts? Find a park, a spot in your backyard, or even a room in your home ⏤if you can be there alone.
For many years I scheduled my Solitude time during the year. I started with one time a year and worked up to four. These were times away for 24 or 48 hours. They were wonderful and produced much rest.
I have also heard of people taking a full eight hours of retreat one time a month. Jesus is a great example of Solitude. He sought it often. He removed himself from the crowds to go off and pray. If Jesus needed frequent times of Solitude, I am thinking I probably do to.
The goal is to simplify the hours. Finding simplicity in the minutes slows me down. It allows me to think. It allows me to connect with my inner thoughts to take them to God in a deeper manner. By not being distracted by TV/Movies, daily chores, digital devices, or people I can slow down my thoughts long enough to hear the still small voice. I enter into the Holy of Holies. I find my strength is found in God and God alone. You can too.
2. Intentional Silence allows us to let go of our determination to control. During our time of silence I seek to remove anything that is not God oriented.
I take my bible, my journal, and a pen. I have a few other things I like to take into my times of silence. I have a favorite coffee cup and a favorite prayer shawl. These I bring with me on those retreats that are planned. Or, I take them with me to the mountains, to the hotel room, to the silent retreat center, to my favorite red prayer chair. I still find that the most profitable is in a convent or a prayer house. Usually less expensive, food is provided, and they are pretty strict about digital equipment, so I am forced to leave my computer behind.
By allowing God to take a front and center place in my mind, I have an opportunity to see how I am trying to control what is not mine to control. It is much easier to drop those controls when they are recognized and when I am being filled up with time in God. And yes, I do mean time IN God, not time WITH God. By entering his Word, I am entering into Him.
3. Recollection means focus. Who am I and why am I here?
These are the questions of Recollection. Do you know your purpose for living this life? Do you have a life verse that has been given to you during a time of questioning your purpose for living? Have you ever sought for an answer as to why God made you the way He did? Are you aware where God is calling you this year? this season?
By taking some time in Solitude and in Silence you are ushering yourself into the ability to find the space for the Prayer of Rest. By asking yourself some hard questions and focusing on God's character for the answers, you might be surprised how openly you cry out in Prayer. And how that Prayer Rests you. You have found the Prayer of Rest.
I encourage you to move forward into these opportunities. Diving into the word of God is the biggest resource for each of these steps becoming profitable.
I find that when I am in the Word of God on a daily basis, I am much more willing to take these three classical steps to usher myself into time to enter the Prayer of Rest.
May you find Him more intimately every day you live.
Because He IS the I AM, i am,
robyn rochelle cox
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Robyn Rochelle Cox
WHOSE AM I?