Day 9

Caution in God’s Presence

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan


Ecclesiastes 5:1-20, 1 Samuel 15:22, Luke 12:22-34

BY Sharon Hodde Miller

What does your prayer life look like in this season of life? How, specifically, do you pray each day?

As a mom with small kids and a church to help lead, I will confess that my prayer life is often rushed. I pray throughout the day, squeezing it in when I can. I pray when I wake up, I pray when I am driving, I pray at meals, I pray when someone comes to mind, and I pray as I fall asleep. Because of this rhythm, my prayer life is often hurried. And when I do pray, I am doing the majority of the talking.

This is how many of us pray, especially in hectic seasons of life. God functions as a touchstone throughout our schedule, and there is some good in this practice. It reminds us of the ever-present help we have in Him. However, I have recently become convicted that this practice lacks something important: listening.

I recently heard a podcast describe the strange training regimen of NASA astronauts preparing for space. Because outer space is absolutely silent to a degree that we never experience on earth, astronauts must learn to adjust to it. They do this by spending time in a noiseless chamber where the silence is profound. In fact, the absence of noise is so absolute that you can hear the sound of your own body and its most basic, typically imperceivable, inner workings: the sound of your own breathing, or your heart beating and pumping blood to the rest of your body, the sound of skin sliding over sinew, of bones rubbing against one another—which is about when astronauts start hearing things that aren’t actually there.

This description is almost unsettling to read, but it helps us to grasp the loud volume of our everyday lives. We live in a world where silence, true silence, is difficult to come by. But as these astronauts have discovered, it is only through silence that we can hear things we’ve never heard before.

For many of us, silence is the missing ingredient from our prayer lives. We are unable to hear from God because we haven’t created the environment for it. This is what the author of Ecclesiastes is saying: He counsels, “Do not be hasty to speak, and do not be impulsive to make a speech before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2). This is an invitation to turn our prayer life on its head by listening more to what God has to say, rather than solely bringing petitions and requests before Him.

This can be a challenge, but it is also a word of grace and good news to any of us who do not know what to pray, or those of us who feel pressure to pray in a certain manner. Instead, it reminds us that prayer is not simply about us speaking to God, but God speaking to us. If we will only make the space to listen.

Post Comments (66)

66 thoughts on "Caution in God’s Presence"

  1. Idalia Lopez says:

    This is definitely one area where I struggle with the most. I struggle sometimes with the consistency of prayer and when I pray I am not leaving space for silence and for God to speak. This devotional has really reopened my eyes to what needs to be done. I often ask God for direction but I never actually give time to hear what He has to say. This was great to read

  2. Laurie Crary says:

    Lord, please help me to seek You in silence, to listen for your still, small voice. Amen

  3. Lu says:

    How do you meditate or revel in Gods presence? How do you know he is there? How do you know what his answers to your questions are? I am often afraid it is me who wants to take the easier route or It is me punishing myself for all my wrong doings by taking the hard way. How do I know which path is Him? or if there is a third option i don’t see that is him. I want to be one with the Lord so badly but I find it difficult to do. When I do feel close to the Lord I often question that closeness later. Like was that truly the Lord or am i just trying to convince myself that he was there. Am i trying to comfort myself by making the lord be who I want him to be instead of who He is? how do I know the Lord is guiding me? I often feel like its a guessing game where i try option 1 and it fails so i try option 3 and it works but i never really know what God is wanting from me or for me. I just wish i knew without a shadow of a doubt that the path I am on is the one God wants me on.

  4. Elisha Anne says:

    Have been so blessed by reading about Corrie Ten Boom this week, seeing her childlike faith in her Daddy – Father – God! Whenever a problem came, she never doubted Him but had such confidence He would come through on time ♥️ He is sooo good and faithful!!

  5. Dona Bell says:

    DIANA: so glad to see you in the comments today; I am catching up today on this SRT devotion, and responded to your comment, I think it was yesterday. I so feel for your isolation due to your affliction. Am praying for you.
    TAYLOR: I also take you up on your challenge to meditate 10 minutes a day. I revel in silence at times, but don’t always use it to revel in God’s presence.
    TINA: I too find it hard to actually wait for that response from God. I am so impatient sometimes.
    LAUREL: Your story of your adopted children was so touching. I thank God for your heart to do that. I pray God give you silent moments when you can hear words of encouragement and strength from Him.
    Thanks and blessings to all who share here and all who read the comments!

  6. Jana Sweatmon says:

    I enjoyed this lesson, I am think I am more in the stage of life where I pray several times daily. I look forward to a time where I can have more silence to reflect. I am struggling with the note pages with this lesson as how to separate under the sun and in the kingdom. I am probably over thinking it I guess.

  7. Irina says:

    Taylor, could it be that you need to show more reverence in relationship with God, before your meditation time?

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