A Selection of Spiritual Formation Resources
Bondi, Roberta C., Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 1995.
Reminiscent of the writings of Augustine, Teresa, and Thomas Merton, this volume is “a book of honest pain and honest joy in the presence of God.”—Rowan Williams, Bishop of Monmouth, Wales.
Brown, Patricia D., Paths to Prayer: Using the Wisdom of the Ages to Develop Your Life of Prayer, John Wiley & Sons, 2003.
Based on the Myers-Briggs, this book will help you discover your prayer type. Patricia D. Brown explores forty ways to pray from two thousand years of Christian wisdom. “…a sensitive exploration of the role prayer in everyday life. No matter which spiritual or religious path you have chosen, you will benefit from this wonderful book.”—Larry Dossey, M.D.
Brueggemann, Walter, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth:Prayers of Walter Brueggemann, Augsburg/Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2003.
This thoughtful collection of prayers emerged from Brueggemann’s thirty-five years of teaching in seminaries. Full of reflection, faith, and dialogue, they reveal another side of the gifted author. These deeply felt and sparklingly articulated prayers reflect a wide range of life experiences. They take us from the depths of pain and loss to the heights of joy and praise. This volume also includes an index of biblical allusions that will be useful for biblical teachers.
D’Arcy, Paula, Gift of the Red Bird: A Spiritual Encounter, Crossroads Publishers, 1997.
When Paula D’Arcy lost her husband and baby in a car crash, she began an inner search for a faith that was stronger than fear. In Gift of the Redbird, she shares her remarkable spiritual adventure.
Foster, Richard J., Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Harper San Francisco, 1992.
“The truth of the matter is, we all come to prayer with a tangled mass of motives---altruistic and selfish, merciful and hateful, loving and bitter. Frankly, on this side of eternity we will never unravel the good from the bad, the pure from the impure. But what I have come to see is that God is big enough to receive us with all our mixture. We do not have to be bright or pure, or filled with faith, or anything. That is what grace means, and not only are we saved by grace, we live by it as well. And we pray by it/”—Richard D. Foster A wonderful guide for beginning a life of prayer.
Foster, Richard J., & Griffin, Emilie, Editors, Spiritual Classics: Selected Readings for Individuals and Groups on the Twelve Spiritual Disciplines, Harper San Francisco, 2000.
This treasury of great Christian literature is a Renovare resource for spiritual renewal.
Keating, Thomas, Intimacy With God, Crossroad, New York, 1994.
The Gospels are filled with intimate scenes of meals shared, of feet washed, of laughter and of tears. In this gem of a book, readers are invited to learn and to experience through contemplative prayer a sense of this intimacy with God. For anyone who feels a desire for a deeper prayer life.
Kruh, Nancy, The Disciple Story: The Transforming Power of Scripture, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 2003.
More than just an account of the Disciple Bible Study, Nancy Kruh, an editor and feature writer for The Dallas Morning News, through interviews with persons who had gone through the study and experienced a profound and deepened experience of their faith and understanding of their personal calling by God.
Loder, Ted, Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle, Augsburg Books, Minneapolis, MN.
Prayers that speak to you where you live, that call you to examine your heart and spirit and help you open to the truth within you. You will find them a comfort and challenge at the same time. You will weep at some and laugh out loud at others. Your spirit will grow.
Lucado, Max, The Christmas Candle, WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2006.
One of this prolific author’s most recent books.
Mitchum, Naomi, Harps in the Willows: Strengths for Reinventing Life, Chalice Press, St. Louis, Missouri, 2001.
Naomi shares her journey through physical challenges which created a need to find new ways to serve God and follow her passion for helping others do the same. She shares devotional reads to provide purpose, perspective and hope in the midst of changes and challenges life presents each of us.
Mulholland, M. Robert, Jr., Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation, The Upper Room, Nashville, TN, 1985 (Revised 2000).
Helps you read scripture with purpose by intentionally listening for God’s voice in the word you read, experiencing growth spiritually in response, and letting go of control so that God can lead your reading and understanding.
Muller, Wayne, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, Bantam Books, New York, 1999.
Explores the value of making Sabbath as a sacred time of rest in a busy and strife-filled world to refresh one’s spirit and find new meaning in a personal relationship with God.
Neeld, Elizabeth Harper, Ph.D., A Sacred Primer: The Essential Guide to Quiet Time and Prayer, Renaissance Books, Los Angeles, CA, 1999.
Most of us have a desire for a disciplined spiritual and devotional life, but few of us are able to sustain one. We find it difficult to create space and a structure for the discipline of daily spiritual practice. A Sacred Primer is designed to help us learn how to invite the Divine into our daily lives. It shows us how we can know the Holy, not only in special, fleeting moments, but as a daily presence that is a source of balance, guidance, calmness, and joy. The wisdom and suggestions for daily spiritual practice found in this primer come from the author’s own research and spiritual journey.
Nouwen, Henri J.M., Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, A Crossword Book, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1994.
Writing of many of the daily events in life that are packed with meaning and God’s presence, Nouwen invites us all to practice the presence of God. If you haven’t met Nouwen, this may be a good place to start.
Nouwen, Henri J.M., Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World, A Crossword Book, The Crossword Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1992.
How does one live a spiritual life? This intensely personal account began as a simple request from one friend to another to write a book explaining the spiritual life in terms that he and his friends could understand, avoiding theology and technical language. “Speak to us about a vision larger than our changing perspectives and about a voice deeper than the clamoring of our mass media. Speak to us about something or someone greater than ourselves. Speak to us about…God. .”Nouwen’s answer has become one of the most cherished books of our era.
Pearce, Mary Kathryn, Concerning Prayer, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, Women’s Division, New York, NY, 2003.
This study book seeks to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the dimensions and power of prayer; to help us examine our prayer lives in relation to the disciplined prayer lives of Jesus and other biblical and contemporary spiritual leaders; to explore methods and aids for developing a more in-depth prayer life; and to help us practice what we’ve learned.
Pennington, M. Basil, Centering Prayer: Renewing An Ancient Christian Prayer Form, Doubleday, New York, 1980.
Throughout Christian history there has been a felt yearning of the human spirit to communicate with its creator. The practice of prayer and meditation in modern Western Christianity can trace important roots to early Church prayer, especially Eastern traditions, as well as the wisdom of early Church fathers.
The author shows modern day readers how to employ and adapt these ancient practices and thus achieve the highest possible communication with God. As one reviewer summed up, “This book will help young and old in the ways of prayer, in so far as any book can.”
Remen, Rachel Naomi, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength. Refuge, and Belonging, Riverhead Trade Paperbooks, The Berkley Publishing Group, New York, 2000.
Author Rachel Naomi Remen, a cancer physician and master storyteller, uses her luminous stories to remind us of the power of our kindness and the joy of being alive.
Rohr, Richard, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1999.
Using parables, koans (short and pithy, but illogical statements, intended to free the mind from rational thought), and personal experiences, Richard Rohr leads us to a place where we can receive the gift of contemplation, the place where (if only for a moment) we see the world in God clearly, and know that everything belongs. A delightfully challenging, unforgettable, and very readable book.
Taylor, Barbara Brown, Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Harper, San Francisco, CA, 2006
Taylor describes a rich spiritual journey in which God has given her more questions than answers. As she becomes part of the flock instead of the shepherd, she describes her poignant and sincere struggle to regain her footing in the world without her defining collar. Taylor’s realization that this may in fact be God’s surprising path for her leads her to a refreshing search to find Him in new places. Leaving Church will remind even the most skeptical among us that life is about both disappointment and hope—and ultimately renewal.
Vest, Norvene, Gathered in the Word: Praying the Scripture in Small Groups, Upper Room, Nashville, TN, 1999.
For those thirsting for God, Vest describes an age-old form of devotional reading that is intended specifically for spiritual nourishment. This method of praying the Scripture, called lectio divina, or divine reading, leads to a deeper understanding of scripture as well as a deeper relationship with God. The method helps both small groups and individuals drink deeply and satisfy their spiritual thirst.
Thompson, Marjorie J., Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 1995.
Marjorie Thompson provides guidance and help to those who wish to explore the riches of Christian spirituality. She offers a framework for understanding the spiritual disciplines, as well as instruction in developing and nurturing these practices. Thompson’s discussions on topics such as prayer, spiritual reading, worship, fasting, self-examination, and hospitality are clear, practical, and inspirational. This is a great resource for those wanting to learn more about the spiritual disciplines—a good “first read” on spiritual formation.
Wendland, Barbara, Connections
A 4-page monthly newsletter edited by North Texas Conference layperson, Bsrbara Wendland, wherein the writings are pointed toward calling the church to faithful new life.
Wolpert, Daniel, Creating A Life With God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices, Upper Room Books, Nashville, TN, 2003.
Creating A Life With God offers us the opportunity to learn and adopt 12 prayer practices, including the general practice of peace and quiet, Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures), the Jesus Prayer, creativity, journaling, and more.
Along with these prayer practices are historical figures to guide us, including Julian of Norwich, The Pilgrim, and Ignatius of Loyola. Also included are step-by-step instructions for practicing each prayer practice.
Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
Have you read this book? Bishop Huie has recommended this book as a good resource. Bishop Schnase refers to Intentional Faith Development as purposeful learning in community. The Faith Forming Relationships and Spiritual Formation Team is striving to find ways to resource churches throughout the Conference as they look for ways to "make disciples of Jesus Christ."
Intentional Faith Development
"Intentional Faith Development refers to the purposeful learning in community that helps the followers of Jesus mature in faith, such as Bible studies, Sunday school classes, short-term topical studies, and support groups that apply the faith to particular life challenges. Learning in community replicates the way Jesus deliberately taught his disciples. People cannot learn grace, forgiveness, patience, kindness, gentleness, or joy, simply by reading about it in a book. These are aspects of spiritual formation that one learns in community, through intentional engagement. The sanctifying presence of God's spirit works through these practices to help us grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God." (p.62)
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