by Larry DeBruyn
One writer describes the “silence” of mystical prayer: “When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness . . . the profound mystical silence . . . an absence of thought.” In his new book Life with God, Richard Foster describes Spiritual Disciplines to be activities Christians engage in so that they might become the athletae dei, the athletes of God. Foster pairs some of the disciplines to be, “fasting and prayers, study and service, submission and solitude, confession and worship, meditation and silence . . .” Both authors associate spirituality with contemplative prayer, meditation, and silence. These aspects of spirituality do seem to connect with one another. But biblically, do they? Does the Bible ask us to approach God through a spirituality of silence?
To answer the question, we must go to the Old Testament where, especially in the book of Psalms, meditation, which contemplative spiritualists presume should be silent, is portrayed as a path to quality living, both spiritual and material. For example, the first Psalm exclaims, “How blessed is the man who . . . [delights] in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night . . . And . . . whatever he does . . . prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3; See 119:15, 23, etc.). In that meditation appears to be such an important avenue to “blessing,” it would be well to understand from a biblical perspective what the activity is, and its relation, if any, to silence. Click here to read this entire article.