Following the message we enter into a time of silence. The length of this time depends on the duration of first word, music, and the message. Typically it lasts between 15-25 minutes. This can be a jarring experience for folks new to Quakers. It may feel, at first, like someone is missing their cue! Nope! The cue is for you...it is time to settle in and listen to what is going on inside!
Center Down. Surrender the thoughts or worries that may distract you.
Commune with God. If you are grateful, give your gratitude to God. If the Spirit convicts you of wrongdoing, accept God's forgiveness and power to change. If you are anxious, ask for God's guidance and peace. Most of all, listen for God's voice within your hearts.
Be Aware of Others. You may be led to pray silently for the gathered meeting or for one person in particular.
Speak As You Are Lead. Sometimes, we are prompted to speak, pray or sing out of the silence. This prompt can be unsettling. We may wonder if breaking the silence is truly God's desire. If you feel led to speak, wait.
Because it is difficult to speak and listen at the same time, make sure you have God's entire message before you speak. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to finish the thought in your own wisdom.
Even if you feel called to speak, consider whether your words might be more appropriate in a different context (e.g. during "Joys & Concerns" or expressed privately, one-on-one).
Allow the message to season. If your impulse to speak passes, let it go.
If you speak, please stand if you are able. Speak so your voice can be heard by everyone in the room. Let your words be few. Preserve a time of silence between each message, so we will have time to digest one idea before receiving the next.
If waiting in the silence is difficult for you, there are some things you can try. Spend time throughout the week asking God to make gathered worship meaningful for you. If you're unable to stay focused, try meditating on a song we sang this morning, or a passage of Scripture.