Have you ever wondered what it means to be still and know or about the biblical command of stillness? Let’s explore the true meaning in God’s word and how to be still in the hustle culture of our modern world.
What does it mean to be still before God?
Does the word “still” evoke feelings of peace and serenity? (Yeah, it did for me, too!)
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
For the longest time, the word ‘stillness’ brought images of a serene waterfront setting, where I was ‘camped out’ in God’s presence.
Upon further investigation, I discovered that the true meaning of this word is more than I realized.
Still is actually a verb in this verse (Psalm 46:10). If you remember back to elementary school, a verb typically shows action and motion.
The word “still” is the Hebrew word raphah. It means to sink down, relax, to let go, let drop, lose your grip, and slacken your hold.
So, this word means you are to actively do something, not just sit idly by.
You are to actively let go of your situations and circumstances, loosen your grip on your life, cease striving, and unwind fully in the presence of God.
Being still is not passive. Through this the action of being still, you fully surrender your life as an act of trust and obedience to your Heavenly Father.
It’s in those moments of stillness where you stop striving, stop fighting God, and lay your expectations and desires at the foot of the cross.
You know those areas of your life you tend to cling tightly to: your marriage, your kids, your career, and your finances? Being still requires you to step aside, lay down control of those situations, and trust the will of God as perfect and complete.
This simple act of stillness is an outward expression of trust as you release those messy, impossible situations into God’s hands. It’s a step of faith, where you follow where the Lord leads and listen for God’s voice, even when you’re trembling with fear.
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Exploring Psalm 46: The Ultimate ‘Be Still’ Scripture
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
This Old Testament text is an invitation from the King of Kings to shed fear, overwhelm, and anxiety for the refuge and peace of His perfect presence.
The original text was thought to be written during at a time of turmoil and great fear, yet It reminds the people of God that He is Lord Almighty and the presence of the Lord is their ultimate source of comfort.
Even when life crumbles or natural disasters occur, the Lord is your refuge and hope. The great thing is, there’s nothing you need to do but be still and release each burden to Him. (Thank you, Jesus!!!)
As you surrender your life (burdens, to-do list, relationships, agenda), you will experience goodness, great comfort, and much love from the God of Israel.
Then, your pursuit will be Him alone and not on trying to control your circumstances.
When your gaze is fixed on the Lord, you will fully know Him as God, Father, Creator, Provider (and the list goes on) like you have never have before.
You’ll experience His love, joy, peace, and satisfaction in a fresh way that fills you up and satisfies the deepest longings of your soul.
What are the benefits of being still before God?
Do more. Be more. Achieve more. That’s the message a fallen and broken world whispers to women.
Yet the hustle and bustle of the world leaves us empty, dissatisfied, and longing for hope. It’s in those lies where one loses her true identity and strays from true soul satisfaction: Jesus.
Quiet time with the Lord and being still in God’s presence a chance to refuel a weary soul.
It’s a chance to lay aside your burdens and bask in the presence of the Holy Creator.
It’s a time to release your struggles and sorrows at the foot of the cross.
It’s an opportunity to take refuge in the King of Kings and unburden yourself from the struggles of this world.
Being still teaches you surrender
To fully know God, you must let go of your life and relinquish control to your Heavenly Father. Surrendering is a beautiful act of worship that acknowledges God’s power and authority in your life and this world.
As you surrender yourself and your struggles to Him, you get to know the God that can handle every single one of your struggles.
Then, you can live free from the weight of your burdens as you let go of the reigns of control on your life.
Being still teaches you to trust God
It’s easy to let overwhelm creep in and steal your joy, isn’t it? Yet when you humble yourself and are still before the Lord, it’s an outward expression of trust to your Heavenly Father.
Through being still before God, you’re exchanging your control over your life with the plans God has for you.
This simple act of trust acknowledges that God knows best and His ways are perfect, even when He doesn’t let you in on His plans.
While it may not be easy to relinquish the reigns of control over your life, it’s through that act of surrender where you ‘fully know’ the Lord.
Being still reminds you where your hope comes from
When you clutch your life with closed fists and try to control your circumstances, it’s as if you doubt God and doubt His ability to guide your path.
Yet when you ‘be still and know’, you’re releasing your tight grip on your life and acknowledging God’s power and might.
It’s there where you place Him back on the throne He so rightly deserves and rekindle your hope in Him alone.
And it’s there where you acknowledge that hope comes from God alone, and is not found in the outcome of your circumstances.
How to be still before God when life is busy
The demands and busyness of life don’t have to overshadow your time with the Lord.
Instead, the more regularly you spend time being still in His presence, the more you’ll lean into Him for strength when life gets messy.
Use the STILL model of prayer
In your quiet time, use the STILL prayer strategy to practice being still before the Lord.
- S- Surrender control of your life and lay it at the feet of Jesus
- T- Talk to the Lord and honestly share your struggles
- I- Identify God’s power and acknowledge that He knows best
- L- Lay down your burdens before Him
- L- Listen and learn what God is teaching you
This simple prayer strategy is a guide to help you walk through being still before the Lord and relinquishing control to Him.
Use this model of stillness in your daily quiet time or to connect with God while you’re on the go. I find it helpful to reflect on this when I’m stressed and overwhelmed to remember that I don’t walk through life on my own.
Since God is with me and for me, He is my refuge and safe place in tough moments as they arise.
Simple ways to be still before the Lord
Just 10 minutes of stillness before God can refresh your weary heart and renew your spirit.
When you’re short on time, consider:
- Reading one Bible verse on hope as a way to renew your mind with truth
- Going for a walk or sitting outside meditating on God’s truths
- Establishing a place in your house as a prayer closet- where you go to fellowship with God and spend a few minutes of focused prayer time
- Sitting in your car during your lunch break for a time of quiet reflection or pausing mid-day to renew your mind with biblical truths
- Using a daily prayer journal to reflect on God’s goodness and as a journal of surrender
- Creating a hope journal to help you remember God’s blessings and provision
- Turning on worship music as a simple way to refocus your heart on God’s goodness
- Take a prayer walk in your home and pray over your family and life.
Bible Verses About Stillness, Comfort, and Rest
These famous verses on stillness, comfort, and rest will help you surrender to the Lord and jump start your spiritual life as you remember God’s faithfulness and great love.
Whether your time in God’s Word is at the break of day or in the still of the night, these verses will point you to the good news of God’s hope.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.. Psalm 23:1-4
Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. James 5:7
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. Psalm 65:5-8
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26
And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. Isaiah 32:17
I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. Psalm 138:2
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:5
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Mark 4:36-39
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1-2
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. Psalm 131:2
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. Acts 17:24-25
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:4
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, Psalm 146:5
Be Still and Know Bible Reading Plan
Use this free Bible reading plan and reflection guide to press into God’s comfort and strength in all seasons of life.
So, friend, when’s the last time you were truly still in God’s presence?
When’s the last time you leaned in and listened to Him for longer than a minute?
These are great ways to stop striving and living in your own strength, but trust your Savior, Christ Jesus, in all things. I challenge you to bask in the glory of God and be still in His perfect peace. He is faithful to meet you there!