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A Book on Spiritual Growth

"Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster
I had read this book about 10 years ago, and it became, and still is my favorite Christian non-fiction book. Richard Foster writes that "there is a desperate need for deep people", he is referring to deep spiritual Christian people, people that have a deep and earnest desire to learn, to be still before God, and to be dramatically changed from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. "The will can only deal with the externals, just like the law, it cannot transform the inner spirit. The demand is for an inside job, only God can do that." "An inside job", I love that quote. Richard Foster has a list of spiritual disciplines divided by inward, outward and corporate disciplines. The spiritual disciplines for the inward are; meditation, prayer, fasting, and study. The spiritual disciplines for the outward are; simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The corporate disciplines are ; confession, worship, guidance and celebration. The spiritual discipline of meditation is a little scarey to many Christians. Many Christians when they think of meditation have images of transcendental meditation, the eastern meditation practice of emptying your mind in order to search for reality through spiritual intuition. "Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God's voice and obey his word." Christian meditation is not just emptying your mind, but filling it with God. "What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart." My favorite chapter is on prayer, "prayer involves a learning process," "I determined to learn to pray so that my experience conformed to the words of Jesus rather than try to make His words conform to my impoverished experience." I remember in my own life when my prayers were no longer dictating to God what should be done, but in asking for His will to be done. Prayer is a learning process, it hopefully evolves and deepens over a Christian's life. When I was a child I learned to pray at meals, "God is good, God is great, let Him thank us for our food, amen." When I was about age 10 my dad asked me, "don't you think it is time for you to start praying a deeper prayer?" Dad was right it was time, God also guides and directs us along in our Christian life in order for us to learn a more deeper prayer. I have been reading this book along with other women in the spiritual formation group at Shelfari, we discuss questions on this book, these questions are very thought provoking and often I have to think about them for a while. Richard Foster has written several other books which are also very good, two of the books I recommend are; "Freedom of Simplicity", and "Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home."

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