Most Merciful God, help us to be still, to trust in your slow work, that we may know your gentle whisper, for you are our God. Teach us your way, Lord, that we may rely on your faithfulness through the valleys, and in doing so, know Christ and the power of his resurrection; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I “wrote” or rather compiled this collect (i.e. prayer) mostly from various Scriptures. It is my attempt to formulate a prayer that speaks my heart through this season of feeling unsettled, disheveled, and even frazzled since closing the church plant in 2021.
During this past year, I’ve been on a journey to essentially rediscover myself. To be the person that I, Jason Hess, am supposed to be. I’m not speaking about being a priest or pastor, or even a husband or father. I’m talking about being authentically Jason, the unique individual that was handcrafted in his mother’s womb.
I’ve found freedom in knowing that the Lord does not expect me to have it all together, nor does he expect me to bear the burden of expectations placed on me by others.
Sometimes the most we can manage is to simply be in his presence.
Sometimes all we can do is merely sit with Jesus. Sit for no other reason than to listen, be formed, be healed, and be restored.
There’s plenty of time to voice petitions and intercessions, but first and foremost we must simply be in his presence. We must intentionally find time to sit with Jesus. I know, I know it’s hard. Distractions are everywhere. Which begs the question, how come we can sit and watch a sunset with a loved one and not say a word, but we find it so hard to sit with Christ and not say a word?
“Be still, and know that I am God!” – Psalm 46:10 NRSV
The context of the chapter speaks to God’s protection of his people. It is a call to find comfort in his resolution to the turmoil. His exaltation is not contingent upon the futility of their hands. Rather it is rooted in his sovereignty and love for his people. And so, God calls us each of us to “Be still…”
An interesting note is that in the Hebrew the word translated as “be still” is רָפָה. It can also be understood as sink or relax.
What a beautiful image that paints, the LORD calls us, his people, to relax, to sink into him, and in doing so know that he is God.
When we are unsettled, disheveled, frazzled, feeling like we are in a tailspin, and even lost… the LORD says to just immerse in him. Sit with him, trust the slow work of God.
For in that, we discover not only him… but also ourselves.
Being still requires us to discover, and confront, ourselves. Including our fears, anxieties, hopelessness, and despair. It’s in stillness that true faith and strength is built.
The 2nd – 3rd century Church Father named Origen wrote, “It is not possible to know [God] if one has not become still.”
So, just be still. Sink into the presence of Jesus, know him, and experience the unforced rhythms of grace.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – St. Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
I preached a variation of this post at Relevant Church in Mathews, VA, on January 15, 2023.