If you want to find God in your everyday experience and sense His real presence throughout life’s struggles and joys, you must learn about a kind of prayer few people understand: the prayer of inner quiet.
Many ministries have sprung up to teach Christians how to be prayer warriors—how to pray for the lost, our schools, our towns and cities, and our nation. Yet, for all our praying, we may lack a sense of closeness and intimacy with God to whom we pray. Do you know how to truly find God in your prayer time?
With all our understanding about God’s awesome power, it’s as if we’ve lost sight of God Himself and His longing to be intimate with us.
In the Psalms, we discover long lists of God’s amazing attributes and His great and mighty acts. We read, “You are the God who does wonders,” “You have demonstrated your power among the people,” and “With Your mighty arm You have redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.” We get into the pace of those words, imagining a God who is always on the move.
Unfortunately, often we miss the all-important instruction at the end: selah—“pause a minute and calmly think about what you’ve just read.”
In this tender instruction, we hear the echo of God’s voice calling to us from out of time, calling us to come apart to be alone with Him.
Keys to Finding Inner Quiet
First, you must stop assuming that you need to be specially called to times of prayer. When you read Paul’s imperative words, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, nasb), you may think of prayer as something meant only for super saints.
The fact is that Paul was addressing you and me—every one of us. God calls each of us pray continually. But you must realize this: before God calls you to prayer, He calls you to Himself.
When God says, “Come away, my beloved” (Song of Sol. 8:14a), He is calling and inviting you.
Second, you need to find a place to be entirely alone. Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley and more than a dozen other children, had absolutely no place to go inside her own home to get away from the children in order to be alone with the Lord. So when she pulled her apron up over her head, her children knew it was time to leave her alone.
Most of us have better living circumstances than Susanna Wesley. If you have a bathroom, or even a large closet, you can find a place to be alone.
Third, you must learn what it takes to quiet our own spirit. Bombarded as you are by outside noise and information, it is easy to get totally out of touch with your feelings and motives.
Begin to quiet your mind by disconnecting from outer distractions. Then you can take time to search your heart—with the help of Holy Spirit—to find out what’s really going on inside. Sometimes you may not really want to know what’s going on in there. Disconnecting from outside distractions is a key to finding your inner quiet, so you can truly commune with God.
Fourth, you need help prevent your mind from wandering. If you’ve ever tried to spend time alone with the Lord, you know what I mean. You manage to take a quiet break—but the minute you sit down, “the list” takes over your mind. You think, I can’t just sit here. There’s wet laundry in the dryer, and I’ve got to pay this bill, and…and…and… Failing to get anywhere spiritually, you give up.
For this reason, I recommend you enter into inner quiet with God by meditating on His Word. There in His Word, you can see Him at work; you can learn about His character. You can see Him act, loving and winning back the world, which includes you, to Himself.
Each of these four steps helps turn your heart toward God. Each step opens you up to the fifth thing that leads straight into the inner quiet and secret place—opening yourself to receive His love.
Resting in the Inner Quiet
What is the only requirement for finding your way to this inner quiet with God? Just begin. Begin by abandoning yourself to God, which means learning to rest in His divine presence no matter what your circumstances may be.
In abandoning yourself to God, you train your soul to rest in Him. You trust that He is in control of your life not only when everything goes well, but also when everything goes wrong. You learn to trust that He has not abandoned you and that He knows what’s best for you when He allows different situations and circumstances into your life.
You make a deliberate choice to believe He is working something bigger into you than what you could accomplish by yourself.
I am not saying this is easy. It’s not. But it works.
In Blessed Assurance,
Michal Ann Goll with James W. Goll
This article is adapted from A Call to the Secret Place—Chapter 1: “When I’m Calling You” in Heroines of Faith by James and Michal Ann Goll
If you want to learn to live daily in the place of inner quiet in communion with God, you’ll love James and Michal Ann Goll’s Heroines of the Faith Bundle, which includes the Heroines of the Faith book trilogy and the Heroines of Faith 12 MP3 Message Set. This powerful set tells the true stories of twenty-seven women who forever changed the world through their courage, compassion, and devotion to the secret place. They overcame fear to become strong in faith, took God’s unfailing love to the world, and passionately pursued the prize of God’s presence.