40 Days Weekly Devotions

Devotional Series

40 Days, 29-34


| Mar 21, 2021

40 Days, 29-34

Daily Prayers

DAY 34 – MARCH 27

DAY 34 – MARCH 27

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DAY 33 – MARCH 26

DAY 33 – MARCH 26

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DAY 32 – MARCH 25

DAY 32 – MARCH 25

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DAY 31 – MARCH 24

DAY 31 – MARCH 24

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DAY 30 – MARCH 23

DAY 30 – MARCH 23

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DAY 29 – MARCH 22

DAY 29 – MARCH 22

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SILENCE – a practice of setting aside time for quieting your mind and surroundings with specific intention to draw close to God; expecting God to fill space created by absence of chaos; being comfortable sitting still with a keen awareness of the nearness of God.


SOLITUDE  – the state of being alone, especially when this is peaceful and pleasant. Intentionally withdrawing from people and anything that clutters space or distracts attention from God’s presence. Time spent alone with God, with no expectations other than abiding in him.


SUBMISSION – the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person; self-denial; relinquishing control; prioritizing God’s will over one’s own desires; putting others first out of respect or humility.


The year of 2020, and the beginning of 2021, have offered unique opportunities and challenges to the idea of solitude and silence. Depending on living arrangements, some people have found themselves isolated and alone, unable to be with friends and family. Others have dealt with multiple people working and going to school in the same space they eat their meals, refereeing fights that come from boredom and having to be in the same room with the same person for months on end. Stress and anxiety have reached new heights, and healthy lifestyle habits are at an all-time low for many. 

Maybe for these reasons, the spiritual practice of silence and solitude seem more attractive now than ever before. If you have been living by yourself for the past several months you may disagree, especially about solitude. But, solitude is not the same as loneliness or aloneness. Loneliness is related to isolation, a “being without” state of mind. Whereas solitude could be described as a peaceful retreat with oneself—and as a spiritual practice, with oneself in the presence of God. It is a place of contentment and wholeness. In some of the hardest times of Jesus’ life he withdrew from others, from crowds and even his closest friends, in solitude. There he wrestled with the events that lay before him, alone in the presence of the Father. 

Silence is another often misunderstood discipline. Silence is not merely the absence of noise or talking. It is as much an attitude as a behavior. It is withdrawing with the purpose and intent of being still. It is a quieting of the mind as much as your environment. In Psalm 46:10, the psalmist reminds us that God says, “Be still and know I am God.” Be still. Settle down your soul.

Quiet your spirit. Know that “I am God.” That’s all, and that’s enough. In the midst of (fill in the blank), be still and know that “I am God.” 

Settling into the full awareness of God being God leads beautifully to the practice of submission. When we recognize God is on the throne, that he is not daunted by our tantrums or trials, we can loosen our grip on the reins of our lives. Even though submission is a willful act, it is made easier by knowing the one in authority has your best interest at heart. Not only does God want what’s best for you, he is actively working all things in your life for good. Jesus modeled submission perfectly, humbly giving over his will for the better will of the Father. Intentional and consistent submission to the will of God breaks us out of our self-made prison of pride and delivers us into the freedom of his loving and gracious sovereignty. 
As you read each prayer and Scripture, you have the opportunity to practice the spiritual discipline mentioned and explore how it enriches your relationship with God.

PRACTICE SILENCE/SOLITUDE: To practice silence and solitude is to intentionally withdraw from social engagement, from the “noise” of our lives. The Bible tells us of times Jesus withdrew to a solitary place: Mark 1:35, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16. Although it can and often does involve extended time in silence and solitude, it doesn’t have to—it can be even a few minutes in the midst of a busy day. This week, find ways to incorporate silence and solitude into your day. For example, do your daily exercise or commute in silence; wake up before your family and spend the time in quiet and without checking your phone; sit in your car for a few minutes in silence, take a break from technology, etc. Once you start looking, you can see all kinds of possibilities for incorporating silence and solitude into your daily routine. 

PRACTICE SUBMISSION: Submission is the spiritual discipline that frees us from the burden of always needing to get our own way or be in control. Through submission, we can learn to hold things lightly. We practice self-denial to help us learn to pay attention to the attitude we have toward others and move more fully toward honoring and loving others above ourselves. This week, ask God to reveal areas where you can practice submission. Consider who you can voluntarily “give in” to today? Who can you put ahead of, honor, or prefer over yourself today? Where can you release your need/desire to be in charge? How can you be a good follower, be teachable, or be eager to learn from others?

 

WATCH AND LISTEN:

Watch the Serenity message series by Senior Pastor Marty Grubbs

Listen to “Be Still” worship song

Lisen to "Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)" worship song


READ:

Invitation to Solitude & Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

Glossary of Terms