Spiritual disciplines have been used by Christians over the centuries to grow closer to God and experience Jesus' presence. The idea of spiritual disciplines may be overwhelming for some. Where does one begin?
Keri has provided practical instruction on how to practice a number of the disciplines on a daily basis. The spiritual practices she has included are those that “can connect us with our identity as deeply loved children of God.” (162)
She encourages us to eliminate hurry first. “What...things might I have to prune from my schedule in order to have time to engage in these life-giving disciplines?” (13) She helps us understand the discipline of “the examen” (the review of the day). She goes on with encouragement to practice Jesus' presence upon awakening, practice fixed hours of prayers, deeper friendship, solitude, quiet, seeing creation, trusting God for direction, intercession, simplicity, confession, gratitude, listening, Sabbath, memorizing Scripture, service, and many more.
Keri has added a Presence Practice at the end of each day's devotional. These are practical strategies for moving forward in spiritual growth emphasizing that day's discipline.
Here is a quote from Keri on trust: “I'm challenged to heed my own advice: … Fix what you can; let go of what you can't. Pray like crazy to try to figure out which is which.” (141)
Keri is very honest with her own experiences, sharing her own battle with “the blues.” Psalm 42 was a key for her. Besides drawing on her own experiences, Keri adds what she has gleaned from reading many books on the disciplines.
She identifies the goal of her book: “to help you experience the deep love of Jesus.” (186) A by-product of the book is spiritual growth – an awareness of God's love, extending that love to others, and living a fruitful life.
If you have wanted to know more about the spiritual disciplines Christians have been practicing for centuries but have been overwhelmed with the literature and possibilities, this book would be a great place to start. Keri has given us forty devotionals to get us going in the disciplines by both example and instruction. Perhaps you know the disciplines but do not know how to begin to incorporate the disciplines into your daily life. Again, this is a great book to do exactly that.
I heartily recommend this book. It's forty day structure makes it a good selection for a lent or advent devotional. Better yet, read it now.
Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of nine books and the coauthor of several others. She frequently travels around the country to speak and lead retreats, and she is a regular contributor to several magazines, websites, and blogs. Keri is a member of the Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups, and volunteered in a variety of ministries for more than two decades. She and her husband and their teenage children live in Illinois.
Abingdon Press, 200 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.