Our world is filled with noise. We have grown so accustomed to the constant sound of cell phones, radios, traffic, televisions, conversations, iPods, etc. (and usually more than one at a time) that it is actually uncomfortable to be in silence for more than a few moments. What happens in a conversation when a few seconds pass without someone speaking? We call it an “awkward” or “uncomfortable” silence. We are vaguely aware of scripture’s emphasis on the value of quiet before God (“Be still and know what I am God…” Psalm 46:10; “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed…” Luke 5:16), but how often do we actually practice it? I never would have attempted it on my own, but in my first year as a youth pastor my boss decided to mandate a “hang-out-with-Jesus day”. We were to go to a place that was special to us (I chose the beach) with a notebook and bible, leave our cell phone in the car, and spend at least a couple hours in the quiet, holy presence of God. It was incredible. I had never spend so long in silence before God. The answers he spoke into my heart, the joy and peace I felt in His presence-it was the most spiritually fruitful day of my life. I have since replicated this time of silence with varying degrees of success, but I have come to realize the discipline of silence doesnt require a whole day of solitude. Those are nice when we can afford them, but the discipline of silence seems to be simply this: being quiet before God when there would otherwise be noise. It could be driving to work with the radio off, sitting alone in a park, or spending 10 minutes before your devotional on your knees. Regardless of exactly how we practice silence, when we turn the volume down on the noise in our lives, we hear God’s voice with much greater clarity!