The Whisper in the Quiet Time

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, May 20, 2021

The purpose of the quiet time is to give God a chance to speak to us. —W. Keith Newman

The past few weeks, we have benefited from several of our readers’ experiences and thoughts around sacred silence. This week two more will share their thoughts around the “Quiet Time,” a practice central to their involvement in Initiatives of Change.

Initiatives of Change (IofC, formerly known as MRA) is an informal, international network of people of all faiths and backgrounds working to change the world by first seeking change in their own lives. And that kind of change is anchored in an intentional quiet time set aside every day for discerning the voice of God.

About her own experience, Rosalind “Ros” Weeks, from Ottawa, writes:

FOR ME, THE MAIN tool for discernment is simply to carry out the thought, write that letter, make that phone call, apologize for that judgmental remark. I may or may not know the results of my acting on thoughts that come in the silence, but the more I follow them in faith, the better I can discern if they are from the inner voice or merely from my own best thinking. I can never know for certain, but if I start my quiet time by praying for God to guide me and the thoughts that come are in line with what I know of God’s love, it’s safe for me to obey them.

After graduating in music, I had two different paths before me. One was to accept the scholarships I received and continue studying, the other, to give my life to serve others in whatever ways were needed, under God’s direction, wherever He sent me. With the ‘tool’ of the quiet time, I chose the latter — a difficult choice for me, to leave home and everything I loved, but a deep certainty that it was what God had planned for me. It was the start of a great adventure, on four continents.

The gift of music I had been given was used in ways I could never have imagined. Instead of fulfilling my own ambitions, I’ve been given thoughts to sing, play or write some often very simple music that could open people’s hearts to God’s plan for them. Years later, I was to serve as a church organist, choir director and music teacher. The adventure never ends!

— Ros Weeks, Ottawa

ABOUT THE PRACTICE of the Quiet Time, Keith Newman, from Calgary, writes: “The purpose of the quiet time is to give God a chance to speak to us. That experience will likely be different for each of us.”

In Keith’s own experience, the kinds of thoughts he’s had during the Quiet Time have led to such actions as proposing marriage to Joy. “I was given a clear insight into how God saw this marriage relationship,” he says. “It put the whole relationship on a proper footing for me, and I have been eternally grateful.”

On other occasions the Whisper led him into more respectful relationships with the First Nations to help restore “the pride and dignity that has been so undercut over decades and centuries.”

And then, Keith says, there are those times when he may get no thoughts at all. “But the time of quiet, when I can put myself in the presence of the Lord, is refreshing and it tunes me in to Him so that I am available to Him at any time He may want to speak to me.”

He recommends having pen and paper at hand during the Quiet Time. “Writing thoughts down does not sanctify them. It simply frees your mind to receive the next thought that comes, and the next….”

He also recommends measuring your Quiet Time thoughts against absolute honesty, purity, unselfishness, and love. With these standards you will be better able to discern whether a thought is coming from God or not.

“God can speak anytime,” Keith says, “but I find it helpful to make a specific time available to Him every morning. That is the time in my life when I am least likely to be disturbed. And, if I tune in in the morning, I am better able to hear God, should He speak in the midst of the daily rush of life.”

Thank you, Ros and Keith. Speak, Lord, in the stillness.


© 2021 Warren Harbeck

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