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I am excited to share with you my review of Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality by J. Brent Bill. J. Brent Bill is a writer, photographer, popular speaker, retreat leader, and a Quaker minister. You can learn more about J. Brent Bill at BrentBill.com.
I walk away with three takeaways from this wonderful book.
“Quaker silence is pregnant with holy expectation. It is filled with anticipation that Jesus will be there.” I practice centering prayer. Centering prayer opens me to the gift of contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer is a silent sit with God. I bring no agenda. I open my mind, heart and body to God who is beyond thoughts, words and emotions. I sit with God because I love God.
During centering prayer, I open to God’s presence and action within. I will continue to be open but I will also “expect” that Jesus will be there! I will also “expect” that Jesus will speak to me! “Quaker silence is filled with expectation-expectation that God will speak. When we hear God, our lives are changed.”
I sit in silence two to three times per day. “In the New Testament we find many examples of Jesus’s seeking the silence of solitude, even group solitude.” I need silence in community. There are centering prayer groups in my community. I must seek them out and also sit in community silence. Silence in community is powerful.
Brent shares what to expect when you attend a traditional Quaker silent service. Two years ago I attended a traditional Quaker silent service. I sat in an old meeting house with at least one hundred adults and children. I must do so again. I miss this vital form of silence.
At the end of the book, Brent provides some silent practices. One practice caught my attention. “As you move through this day, look for places where you might be quiet….washing dishes, riding the train to the office, walking in the woods.” These moments are available to us each day. It is in these ordinary and sometimes mundane moments that I can and will encounter the Divine.
“I need God’s help. That is why holy silence is an important part of Quaker life.” I too need God’s help! Where will I best find God’s help? I will find it in the silence of the holy hush.
Please read this short but life-changing book. It will forever change how you think about silence.
Holy Silence by J. Brent Bill
Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment, by J. Brent Bill
Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer by J. Brent Bill
Mind the Light: Learning to See with Spiritual Eyes by J. Brent Bill
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