Listen to the Quiet
“God has shown me several unforgettable lessons about the power of silence, and I want to briefly share these five blessings from listening to the quiet”
When Kathryn Kuhlman said, “Quiet, please,” it was obvious she was serious. Everything stopped. Charlie, her talented organist, played ever so softly or not at all. Everyone became completely silent.
This went on for 10 minutes or so. The silence was almost overwhelming. Then this fellow seated near the front began to whisper into his hands which were cupped over his mouth: “Praise You, Jesus. Praise You, Jesus.”
Immediately Miss Kuhlman spoke emphatically, “Sir, I said quiet!”
I had never seen anything like it. Absolute silence returned, except for Charlie’s soft playing.
Minutes more passed. Finally, she said, barely audibly in just a whisper, “He comes in when you’re quiet.”
Then she repeated it, even softer: “He comes in when you’re quiet.”
I was a young believer, though by this time I had started ministering. Still, nothing I had seen in previous services had prepared me for this. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I waited…and waited…and waited…
Then it happened!
All over the auditorium, miracles began to take place.
During the next hour, Miss Kuhlman talked to those throughout the audience who had been healed. One by one, in front of everyone, people of all ages shared how God’s anointing had moved over them in the midst of the silence!
“Get Very Quiet!”
I went back to Canada after that memorable service, and I thought, “I’m going to try this in one of my services.” After all, I had already learned and experienced so much from Kathryn’s meetings. God certainly used her for miracles all over the world, and He used her, graciously and mercifully, to teach and inspire me in those early days of my ministry.
I decided to try it one night, but the choir was wild, wonderful, and enthusiastic. Many of them were Jamaicans and Haitians, and the rest were a mixture of all backgrounds. Above all, they were charismatic, so their exuberance was only exceeded by their desire to worship the Lord.
The hall was packed. When the time came that I felt I should ask everyone to be quiet, my choir was having none of that! They were enjoying the presence of the Lord. It took me 20 minutes to finally get them to quiet down, and even then they kept saying, “Thank You, Lord. Praise You, Lord!”
They were doing exactly what you would expect of excited, charismatic Christians.
I kept saying, “Quiet, please.” They did their best.
I looked over at my song leader, and his face spoke volumes as he wondered what in the world was going on.
Frankly, I was beginning to wonder the same thing!
I honestly didn’t know whether I was doing something right or not. All I knew was that Kathryn had done it, and the Lord had acted powerfully.
I figured, “If nothing happens, I’ll forget it and move on.”
Meanwhile, I kept repeating, “Quiet, please.”
Finally, the hall became silent. It was really, really quiet.
I didn’t know what to do next, so I waited and stayed still. Ten minutes passed. Twenty. Thirty.
I kept waiting with my eyes shut so very tightly. I had no idea what was going to happen—if anything. And after all that time, I didn’t want to look.
Suddenly something happened that startled everyone, including me.
What was that?
Another loud bang!
More bangs. Finally, I could resist no longer. I opened my eyes. By that time, at least three people, maybe more, in different parts of the room had fallen.
While I was looking around, two more went down!
Then whoosh! Something filled the hall. I felt something like a strong electrical charge, like what I think a bolt of lightning would be. I felt a numbness sweep across my body.
And right before my eyes, almost everything there crumbled to the floor. Virtually no one was standing but me.
I was stunned. My song leader lay on the floor weeping. The musicians, the ushers, everyone was on the floor.
I grasped the pulpit tightly, and I heard the voice of God say to me, “I left you standing to see it!”
God moved so mightily that night, and I learned a very personal lesson of listening to the quiet.
God wasn’t finished teaching me.
A few days later a friend named Peter called. He said, “I want to take you somewhere tomorrow morning, but you have to be ready by 5 o’clock.”
I guess it was apparent from the tone of my voice that I wasn’t especially fond of rising so early in the morning.
“Never mind,” he answered. “I’ll pick you up at 5.”
Peter was a good friend and a strong believer, so thought I’d go along with whatever surprise he had in mind.
As promised, he picked me up at 5. We headed out in his car. You don’t have to drive far out of Toronto to be in the woods, and that’s where we were shortly.
He parked, and we began walking several minutes into the forest. I was more puzzled than ever. Soon we were deep in the woods with nothing but trees, birds, and squirrels. I hoped there was nothing more dangerous out there.
We finally stopped, and he said, “I’ll be right back.”
I figured he needed to go the bathroom, so I stood waiting. And I waited. And I waited. Ten minutes turned into 20. It was very quiet, and I began hearing sounds I’d never heard before. I could even hear my heart pounding. The silence was immense.
By this time, I became really concerned. I assumed my friend would be back by now. So I yelled his name. Louder.
I was met with silence.
Then he suddenly jumped from behind a bush and scared me to death!
“That’s why I brought you out here!” Peter said.
“To scare me to death?” I asked.
“No,” he answered. “It was to teach you that you don’t know how to be quiet. You’re always talking and moving around and making noise. I brought you to the woods to teach you how to listen to the quiet.”
I tried to understand, but I was mostly mad at him.
“Do you know,” my friend continued, “that the great Bible teacher Dwight L. Moody said, ‘If I can take an unbeliever and get him quiet for five minutes, and in those five minutes have him think about eternity, I can get him saved. I won’t have to say anything’?”
That made such an impression on my tender heart.
Later, I read what the wonderful missionary leader Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote in his classic book, Waiting on God:
As long as the waiting on God is chiefly regarded as an end toward more effectual prayer, and the obtaining of our petitions, this spirit of perfect quietness will not be obtained. But, when it is seen that waiting on God is itself an unspeakable blessedness — one of the highest forms of fellowship with the Holy One — the adoration of Him in His glory will of necessity humble the soul into a holy stillness, making way for God to speak and reveal Himself.
It has taken me a lifetime to truly process what Miss Kuhlman, my friend Peter, Dwight L. Moody, and Andrew Murray taught me, as well as everything the Bible teaches, about listening to the quiet. I’m quite happy to tell you that I’m still learning what solitude with my Father can truly mean.
Five Blessings from Sacred Quietness
Along the way, God has shown me several unforgettable lessons about the power of silence, and I want to briefly share these five blessings from listening to the quiet.
- A sacred quietness focuses on God, not you.
We are told, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37:7 ESV). Wait for Him. Seek the Giver, not just the gifts. Andrew Murray wrote, “Give God His glory by resting in Him, by trusting Him fully, by waiting patiently for Him. This patience honors Him greatly; it leaves Him, as God on the throne, to do His work; it yields self wholly into His hands. It lets God be God.”
- A sacred quietness ushers you into God’s very presence and power.
The Holy Spirit Himself is often very quiet. You must learn to get still before the Lord and worship Him quietly. Only then can you understand the anointing that often comes in silence. This is why God Himself tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10 ESV).
- A sacred quietness helps you hear God’s voice.
Remember how Samuel, as a child, was beckoned by God during the night? Twice he heard the Almighty’s voice. Finally, on the advice of Eli, his mentor, the youngster waited in the silence until he heard the voice calling his name. He replied, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen” (1 Samuel 3:10 MSG). God told him to listen carefully, and quickly began giving instructions that would begin changing the course of history. The more time you spend alone with God, the more you’ll learn how to recognize His voice when He speaks to you. Be alert for the Holy Spirit witnessing to your spirit. Always remember, the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to you only as you’re able to hear it.
- A sacred quietness invites God to work in you according to His timing.
The God who created the perfect Garden of Eden remains the Master Gardener seeking to see your life grow and flourish. Like the Father, “the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain” (James 5:7 NKJV). He knows when we are ready—spiritually, emotionally, physically, relationally, and financially—when we are “ripe” and ready to receive the rains and, eventually, the harvest. Much of that time is waiting in silence, observing the process and seasons. If God waits longer than you would prefer, remember we are told, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 MSG). Our times are in His hands, but learning to trust Him, even in the quiet, goes against everything most of us tend to do in life. Trust His timing!
- A sacred quietness brings godly wisdom and understanding, despite your circumstances.
The prophet Isaiah, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “Take heed, and be quiet” (Isaiah 7:4 NKJV). Being silent and heeding God’s still, small voice goes hand-in-hand. We are told, “Oh, that you would be silent, and it would be your wisdom” (Job 13:5 NKJV); “Teach me, and I will be quiet. Show me where I have been wrong” (Job 6:24 NLV). Silence allows you to pay attention to what’s stirring in your soul. Instead of quashing or ignoring what’s going on in your spirit, pursue even more strongly your time with God in solitude.
I strongly encourage you to include a godly stillness into your life regularly. Set aside time as often as you can.
Understand that you will face resistance. That’s human nature. But don’t let anything keep you away from seeking Almighty God in a sacred silence.
People today are so used to constant noise and hectic schedules, so it takes a special commitment and discipline to spend time in solitude. Yet that’s where you will encounter God!
Again, quoting from Andrew Murray in Waiting on God:
Take time to be separate from all friends and all duties, all cares and all joys; time to be still and quiet before God. Take time not only to secure stillness from man and the world, but from self and its energy. Let the Word and prayer be very precious. But remember, even these may hinder the quiet waiting. The activity of the mind in studying the Word or giving expression to its thoughts in prayer, the activities of the heart, with its desires and hopes and fears, may so engage us that we do not come to the still waiting on the All glorious One; our whole being is prostrate in silence before Him.
Listen to the quiet. It can usher you into the greatest adventure of your life!
My Prayer for You
In closing, let me share this request with you. I believe that the remainder of 2019 will be a supernatural season of unlimited power and blessing for believers, and I want you to be part of what God is doing by taking a step of faith!
Will you prayerfully ask Him what you should plant today, then sow your most generous financial seed so multitudes can hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
As you do, remember our Father’s glorious promise to both give you seed and multiply that seed as you sow it, for we are given this promise:
Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness” (2 Corinthians 9:10 NKJV).
I am eager to hear from you very soon, and I pray that your gift will bring multitudes of lost souls to the cross.
At the same time, I pray your seed-gift will be multiplied into a vast harvest of financial blessings in your own life, in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, during the coming weeks and months!
With great expectations for you,