Receive God’s guidance. The more time you spend with God in solitude and silence, the more you’ll learn how to recognize God’s voice when He speaks to you. Pray for the guidance you need to make wise decisions, and be alert for the Holy Spirit witnessing to your spirit about what is true. Remember that the Holy Spirit will reveal truth to you only as you’re able to bear it, so trust God’s timing.

Let the love that you experience in solitude and silence pour out into other people’s lives. Each time that you return to life in community with other people after spending time in solitude and silence, draw upon the love that God has given you to love others in the ways He wants you to express love – from speaking kind and encouraging words, to serving them when they need help with something. Take what God has given you during your meetings with Him in solitude and silence and use it to bless others when you’re with them.

Adapted from Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence copyright 2010 by Ruth Haley Barton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Ill.,
Ruth Haley Barton is a spiritual director, teacher, author and retreat leader trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington, D.C.). She is cofounder and president of The Transforming Center, a ministry to pastors and Christian leaders. Educated at Wheaton College and Northern Seminary, Barton has served at several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Her books include Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Sacred Rhythms, Longing for More(all InterVarsity Press), An Ordinary Day with Jesus: Experiencing the Reality of God in Your Everyday Life(with John Ortberg, Willow Creek Resources), Ruth: Relationships That Bring Life(Shaw) and a series of articles called The Transforming Leader in Christian Management Report.

Whitney Hopler is a full-time freelance writer and editor.  You can visit her website at:

Publication date: March 28, 2011