The noise and pace of life can be both intoxicating and maddening. No wonder God reminds us that we can’t cultivate the soil of our lives and grow in Him at dizzying speeds. Growing requires slowing. That’s why the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence—while sometimes counter-cultural—are indispensable to our spiritual growth.

We live in a noisy, fast-paced culture. How would you describe the pace of your life? How do you find rest?

When you think about the disciplines of solitude and silence, what negative response might you or others have? Are these disciplines most likely to be seen as strengths or weaknesses?

Read Mark 1:35. If Jesus was God walking the earth, why did he have to pull aside in solitude and silence and spend time with His heavenly Father? Notice Jesus’ encouragement to His followers in Mark 6:31-32. What is the role of rest in our lives?

Henri Nouwen said, “Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.” Why is solitude essential to your spiritual growth?

In a noisy world, how do you find quiet? How do you experience what the Psalmist describes in Psalm 62:1?

It’s easy to worship the “god of productivity” without even realizing it. How do solitude and silence help remind you of your identity in Christ? Read Psalm 46:10. How have you found God in your stillness?

Make it a point to practice solitude and silence this week. Here’s a checklist to help: 1) Omit an activity, 2) Find a time and place, 3) Remove distractions, 4) Be still, solitary and silent, 5) Try to enjoy just being instead of doing.