We prepare for Contemplative Prayer by stilling our soul. It is something we make happen. We are to still and quiet our own soul.
A Song of Ascents. By David.
NOTE: The term “A Song of Ascents” identifies psalms 120 to 134 as pilgrim songs to be sung when the Israelites “ascended” (went up) to Jerusalem for the annual feasts.
VERSE 1. LORD, my heart isn’t arrogant, nor my eyes lofty; nor do I concern myself with great matters, or things too wonderful for me.
O LORD, my heart is not proud
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great
nor marvels beyond me.
VERSE 2. Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Truly I have set my soul
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so my soul.
I have stilled. Stilling our soul is something that we do. It isn’t something God does to us. It doesn’t happen automatically. Rather it is something we make happen. We still and quiet our own soul.
The Hebrew word for “stilled” is shavah.
Shavah means to resemble, to be like, to agree.
When we are still and quiet is when we resemble God the most. When we’re still and quiet is when we’re in agreement with God the most.
The word shavah would mean the mind and heart are tranquil. It isn’t actively thinking about things.
quieted. The Hebrew word for “quieted” is damam. It means to be or to grow mute, to be silent, to be still.
We learn to quiet ourselves down, so much so that we grow mute, silent, still. We’re not saying any words.
soul. The Hebrew word for “soul” is nephesh. It means breathing creature, animal of vitality, soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion.
The Bible uses the word in all sorts of ways. Whatever it is that makes us who we are, that is nephesh. That entirety is what we still and quiet.
Some people have a hard time stilling and quieting their body. Perhaps they need to correct their diet or exercise, sleep or addictions, so that their body can be still and quiet. Then the rest of their being can also become still and quiet.
Other people have a mind that never stops racing. The do-list, a hundred details, responsibilities, the daily schedule weigh this person down.
Perhaps they need some sort of system to record these things so they don’t have to fill their mind with these things. Then their mind can be still and quiet. Then the rest of their being can also become still and quiet.
There are no shortage of things that cause us to get un-stilled and un-quieted. It’s almost automatic that the opposite of stilled and quieted will happen in our lives.
like a weaned child. Then, as our internal noise become stilled and quieted, it becomes like a baby asleep on its mother’s lap, quietly ready for God.
Psalm 37:7a. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. (NLT translation)
Be still. The stillness of Contemplative Prayer is among our greatest strengths.
Psalm 107:30. Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven. (NASB translation)
they were quiet. In Contemplative Prayer, God leads us to a place of calm. He gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding. He leads us to the haven we desire: union with himself.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
both now and forever.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.