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Shh, I’m trying to be quiet

Some years ago, I was at a church conference that included teaching sessions, discussion groups, time for private prayer and some social events.


One afternoon, we were told we were to reflect privately on the teaching material from the morning sessions. We were given a notebook and pen and told to find a space, indoors or out, where we could reflect and pray.


I quite enjoy these times and took to it easily. Hours later, at dinner time, I sat at a table with others where we spoke about how we’d enjoyed the time and space to reflect.


One of my colleagues said he’d jumped on his bike and done a 60km bike ride. We were a little surprised that he’d not done as the rest of us had, and sensing our reaction, he was quick to add, “I prayed the whole time.” His smile and a nervous laugh suggested that might not have been the case.


It got me thinking: what constitutes a quiet time? When it comes to doing private devotions, I’m pretty happy having a Bible and pen handy and finding a quiet corner to read, reflect and pray. My wife is much more creative in prayer and will incorporate art, craft, different prayer styles, podcasts and other resources to keep her prayer life interesting and beneficial.


Others will talk of going for long walks and sensing God in nature, or journalling their thoughts and prayers, or listening to music that helps them sense God’s presence.


How far can you ‘push’ a quiet time and still be classed as such? For example, does doing three hours of exercise on a pushbike count?


A friend of mine enjoys listening to Christian heavy metal and thrash music (yes, it’s a real thing) and so a ‘quiet’ time for him can be listening to Christian lyrics sung to crunching guitars, a full-on drum kit and a screaming vocalist. He puts his headphones on and plays music almost loud enough to make his ears bleed … and he senses God’s presence.


Can I use my quiet time to pray as I wash my car? Can I reflect on God’s goodness and his love for me as I watch the football? Can I pray for members of my church while I’m having a shower? Can my quiet time include reading a Batman comic and praying for justice to be done across our community? Can my daily devotions include partaking of the blessed milk and Weet-Bix, or is that just breakfast?


Perhaps quiet time can be doing anything that allows you to sense God’s presence more strongly. My grandfather loved gardening and said that God had been a gardener, too, when Eden was made. I’m sure my grandfather said many a prayer while working in the garden.


So perhaps you can shake up your quiet time a bit and try something new. Watch some Formula 1 and pray for the safety of the drivers. Make a strong coffee and pray for the developing country where the beans originated from. Do some stretching or Pilates and thank God for our bodies which are ‘wonderfully made’. Tidy up your recycling for the bin and pray for the environment. Listen to The Beatles and reflect on ‘All You Need is Love’. Polish your black shoes and pray for people who can’t afford shoes.


And, if all else fails, pray for your corps officer as you have a shower in the morning. That will get your day off to a great start, I’m sure.


– Major Mal Davies and his wife Major Tracey are the Corps Officers at Adelaide City Salvos


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