Skip to content

Home / Resources / 5 Ways to Find Silence and Solitude

5 Ways to Find Silence and Solitude

Written by Paul Spilker on

About a year ago, Pastor Bob Martin wrote a helpful article about silence and solitude, “Does Silence Make Me More Like Jesus?” He suggested that the practice of silence is a key way we can bring our real selves before the real God. I commend that article to you.

It bears repeating that Jesus himself is recorded in all four Gospels to have gone away for times of silence, solitude, and prayer. At times, he went away by himself to be alone (Matt.14:23; Mark 6:46-47; John 6:15). Luke’s Gospel states that Jesus went out to the mountain to pray and all night he continued in prayer to God (Luke 6:12).

Is this practice of silence and solitude a part of  your life? Could you say that your life is characterized by fruitful, consistent, and refreshing times of silence and solitude? Or are you like me and find it a challenge not just to schedule solitude time but to focus when actually doing it?

As someone who struggles to focus on things above (Col. 3:2) while spending time with the Lord, even though I have sincerely attempted to incorporate silence and solitude into my rhythms of life the past few years, I want to build on Bob’s article and go one step further to share practices that have been helpful to me. I am certainly no “expert” in silence and solitude, yet from trial and error, I offer some very practical suggestions for how these times might look for you. 

1. Create a distraction-free zone.

Studies have shown a demonstrable effect on your mental focus when your phone, screens, and other devices are turned off and physically out of reach. If indoors, put your phone in another room. If outdoors, turn it off, leave it in your car, or bury it in your bag. Tell someone where you will be and for how long to reduce the sense of needing to be accessible.

2. Give yourself time to find stillness.

I recently came across a metaphor about how our minds are like a jar of river water that has been shaken. It’s impossible to see through the murky water. But as the jar sits still and the sediment settles, clearer waters emerge. We become able to distinguish what’s going on in our life and bring that before God.

3. Use a journal to write what’s on your mind.

I have found it helpful to write a list (or a stream of consciousness “brain dump,” whichever you prefer) about the burdens I’m carrying – i.e., the sediment in my jar. The act of writing one’s thoughts brings greater clarity to them and allows us to more objectively step back from our circumstances. Alternatively, others have found it helpful to verbally speak to God and tell him how they’re feeling.

4. Meditate on and pray into verses that invite God to reorient your thoughts and emotions toward his ways.

  • Psalm 25:4-5 – Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
  • Psalm 86:11 – Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
  • Psalm 146:8 – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Use these passages as a springboard to other verses and continue to meditate on God’s Word.

5. Write specific prayers.

Finally, once you’ve slowed down and reoriented your mind and heart, I encourage you to prayerfully reflect on and write responses to the questions below to help you prepare to reenter life:

  • What can I thank God for, regarding his character or recent blessings from him?
  • In what ways do I need God’s help or wisdom right now?
  • What decisions or transitions are upcoming?
  • How is God calling me to live in this upcoming season?

There is no single formula for time spent in silence and solitude. However, when you spend that time—and I pray it is something you pursue—you are following Jesus’s example of retreating to the Father and reentering his mission.

Paul Spilker

Paul serves as Lead Executive Pastor at College Park and also as an elder for the East Carmel Parish. He and his family started attending College Park in 2007, and he joined the staff team in 2008. Paul is passionate about aligning the people, staff, and resources of College Park for the greatest missional impact and health. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four kids. They enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, and grilling.

Share Page

Contact Form