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Matthew 6:5-6

  • What do you think are the pros and cons of spending time being active, busy and connected to others, vs. spending time being still, quiet and alone:



Active, busy & connected

Still, quiet & alone

Read Genesis 2:1-3 & Luke 5:15-16

  • What can you add to your pros and cons list from these two passages?

Read Matthew 6:5-6

  • Why does Jesus want us to spend time praying 'in secret'?

  • Is it important to you to have a personal connection with God based on spending time with God on your own?

  • Does this mean we should never pray together? What is valuable about spending time with God with your sisters and brothers in Christ?

Read 1 Kings 19:1-18

  • What stood out to you in this story?

  • How did Elijah encounter God?

  • Do you think this encounter with God is normal, or strange? What elements of the story are normal, and what parts are strange?

  • Why do you think Elijah went to Horeb? [1] What was he hoping would happen there?

  • How do you seek to spend time with God? Where do you go? What do you do? Is this similar or different to Elijah's experience?

Look at these practical tips on spending time in silence with God:

  • Choose your space - not your desk or other work-related space.

  • Choose your time - set time aside (a set amount of time - perhaps start with 10 minutes and build up to 20 or 30)

  • Switch off - turn off your phone, the radio, etc. If quiet contemplative music helps, use it. If it distracts you, don’t!

  • Slow down - take a few deep breaths and feel yourself slowing down.

  • Pay attention - be aware of the silence, of your presence and God’s, of your body and mind as well as soul (you may wish to stand or sit or kneel), and be aware of distractions - not to judge yourself for ‘failing’ but to gently return your attention to God again.

  • Open with a simple prayer like “here I am God” or “I welcome you here, Jesus”, and use a phrase like this to resume your focus on God when distractions come.

  • In the silence, be ready to give your thoughts, worries, fears, hopes, and questions to God.

  • Close your time of silence with a time of responding to God - to thank Him, or to praise Him, or to ask Him for things... whatever has come out of this time you've spent together.

  • Try not to judge yourself or judge your experience of spending time in silence. This is time for God, to be with Him and in tune with Him - it will be whatever it needs to be, without utilitarian value judgements or religious self-righteousness. [2]

  • Is there anything in here that you already do? Why do you find these habits helpful?

  • Is there anything new here that you could try this week? What do you like about it?

  • Is there anything here that you wouldn't feel comfortable with trying? If so, can you explain why?

Pastor Travis shared this devotional resource with us in January. You might like to download it and try some of his ideas for spending time with God too!

Set aside some time this week to pray alone, using some of what you've learned in this bible study. You might like to send a message to remind one another to do it!

And when you next meet together, make sure to spend some time sharing about how you went with it this week.

[1] Horeb is also called Mount Sinai, and is the mountain where Moses encounter God in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1), as well as the mountain where the 10 commandments were given (Exodus 19ff).

[2] These practical tips are based on the work of Ruth Haley Barton, in her book Invitation to Solitude and Silence. If you want more inspiration and ideas, I recommend reading the whole book!


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