… I still my soul and make it quiet,
like a child upon its mother’s breast;
my soul is quieted within me. [Psalm 131:3, BCP]

This is a beautiful and powerful image: the idea of reclining on God as a child upon its mother’s breast. The child, small and powerless, cradled to its supplying mother — protected, loved, warmed. The mother draws the child as close to herself as she can. The image is strongly comforting; how could one’s soul not be quieted when reflecting upon this verse? How restful!

Mentally position yourself as being enfolded by God and leaning upon Him. This is not mentally picturing yourself as sitting in the lap of an old man with a long white beard, rather it is adjusting your attitude and moving your soul to a position of reliance upon God. This is not easy at first and it takes practice.

Stilling one’s soul is quite difficult. Our concerns and cares fight to be foremost and this prevents stillness. Acknowledge that the concerns and cares are there — don’t try to fight them or beat them down. Acknowledge them but realize that they are not central: what is central is the relationship to God. This relationship is reliance — total and utter dependence. Work on making the attitude central and then it will be the context for concerns, cares, needs and desires. Still the soul so that the other things are held in place within the relationship.

In the beginning it is easier to attain the attitude after presenting one’s petitions and thanksgivings. That’s an okay way to begin: express our needs to God and then still oneself. Over time it will become easier to attain the attitude.

Try this attitude before, during or after prayer. Be quiet, be still, be silent, be content, and be comforted “like a child upon its mother’s breast”.

copyright 2011 by the author