09 January 2008

Build Up & Shut Up

I was reading an article* about the gift of Tongues from Presentation Ministries in Cincinnati, Ohio and came across this:

“One time while praying the rosary, I felt so exhausted I prayed in tongues while the others answered with the second half of the prayers. I didn't know what I was saying, but I experienced an immediate burst of energy. God promised: "He who speaks in a tongue builds up himself" (1 Cor 14:4).”

I’ve read 1 Corinthians 14:4 so many times, but it never hit me that to edify yourself, or build yourself up by praying in tongues is a GOOD thing. It brings refreshment and empowerment to continue in prayer and praise during your personal devotions. Prophecy, on the other hand, does the same thing in a group setting.

“Although praying and singing in tongues is a quantum-leap forward in our praise-power, it is still limited. Finally, our praise in tongues turns to silence (Zeph 1:7; Rv 8:1). We are so aware of God's glory that we are rendered speechless. This type of profound silence after praise in tongues is the ultimate praise of God by a person on earth.”

Sometimes the best way to praise God is to SHUT UP!

As a “worship leader” in my Assembly of God days (was it really 16 years ago?), the Holy Spirit taught me about the power of silence. It seemed that quiet and silence were missing from our Pentecostal worship. We could shout and clap, but some folks seemed afraid of silence. How often do we pray, “Lord, I want to hear your voice,” but never stop to listen for it?

I set out on a quest to find out about Holy Silence, but it wasn’t in any of the Charismatic or Evangelical books on praise and worship (much has changed since then). Then I came across Thomas Merton, Thomas a’ Kempis, Brother Lawrence, and other Catholic writers. I learned to be still and reap the “Fructis Silentium” (Fruit of Silence).

My ten year-old daughter learned of sacred silence when she went on a retreat with the girls from church. Sophia never shuts up, but these young girls were instructed to spend most of their time in silence thinking about what they were learning and listening for the Holy Spirit. Most Catholic retreats are like this. The amazing thing is that these active, giggling pre-teen girls had such a desire for God that they managed to remain silent for the duration of the instructed time.

Try it when you are engaged in a time of intense worship. Stop. Don’t say a word. Just bask in the Glory of God. Rest in the arms of the Father. Soak in the Spirit. Curl up in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Hide in the wounds of Christ.

He’s not in the whirlwind or the earthquake but in the stillness.

*The whole article can be found HERE

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