Resources for Spiritual Growth
These pages are filled with resources that should help meet at least some of your spiritual-growth needs. We’ve provided a section of mostly brand new books and music (in the style of TOOLS reviews), resource recommendations from Christian leaders—within and without youth ministry.
- THE DAILY BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER: READINGS AND PRAYERS THROUGH THE YEAR
Compiled by Owen Collins
Eerdmans, 1999, 366 pp., $15
Drawn from the classic Book of Common Prayer, this compact nightstand companion includes a page for each day of the year; each page contains a theme, Bible verse, and a reading.
- DANCING TO THE HEARTBEAT OF REDEMPTION: THE CREATIVE PROCESS OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH
InterVarsity Press, 2000, 163 pp., $10.99
The author throws aside the rule book and invites the reader to experience the Christian walk as a work of art-in-progress. The power of poetry is employed throughout as a thematic touchstone, as well as grace and redemption.
- EVERYDAY SIMPLICITY: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Robert J. Wicks
Sorin Books, 2000, 207 pp., $11.95
The first third of this book focuses on “softening the soul,” and much of the remainder is filled with practical suggestions for fostering compassion, a strong prayer life—even a month’s worth of reflections on relaxing with God.
- FEEDING YOUR SOUL: A QUIET TIME HANDBOOK
NavPress, 1999, 144 pp., $8
Remember your “quiet time”? If not—or if it feels more like an anvil chorus—this book might be helpful. It’s organized sequentially, as if you’re following a step-by-step manual for repairing your daily time alone with God. Equal time given to philosophical and practical discussions. Packed.
- FINDING REST: WHEN THE WORK IS NEVER DONE
Chariot Victor, 2000, 201 pp., $10.99
The author examines the concept of rest as if it’s a lost art—exploring the definitions of true rest in God and practical ways you can incorporate rest into your life and in the lives and places around you. The bright cover belies the text-heavy, drab interior, though clearly Klingaman has done his homework.
- THE GIFT OF SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
Liguori, 1999, 116 pp., $13.95
For those interested in doing or receiving spiritual direction. This volume’s brevity and wide margins gives it more of a coffee table- than instruction-book feel. The author—a Swedish Carmelite friar, lecturer, and “retreat master”—writes with the air of a theologically grounded philosopher.
- HEART AFLAME: DAILY READINGS FROM CALVIN ON THE PSALMS
P&R, 1999, 366 pp., $14.99
Calvin thought of the Psalms as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” This collection of selected readings from Calvin’s Commentary on the Psalms—divided into daily meditations for the entire year—seems to cover quite a bit of ground to that end.
- HUNGRY FOR GOD
Ignatius, 2000, 157 pp., $10.95
In this newly revised edition of his 1974 original, Martin—a Catholic lay evangelist for more than two decades—focuses on ways to develop a more profound prayer life so that readers can experience a deeper union with God—or perhaps union with God for the very first time.
- JOURNEYING INTO GOD: SEVEN EARLY MONASTIC LIVES
Translated by Tim Vivian
Augsburg, 1996, 207 pp., $18
Stories of seven male and female monks from the fourth to the seventh centuries—Saint Antony of Egypt, Abba Pambo, Syncletica of Palestine, Saint George of Choziba, Abba Aaron, Saint Theognius, and Saint Onnophrius—and their quests to imitate Christ and fully live the gospel.
- KNOWING GOD JOURNAL
J.I. Packer with Carolyn Nystrom
InterVarsity Press, 2000, 118 pp., $7.99
A true companion to Packer’s classic Knowing God—you need the book for the journal to work. Each of the 22 selections uses an excerpt from Knowing God, a call to study a related Scripture, pray, reflect on God’s character, and compose your thoughts in the journal.
- LIVING BEFORE GOD: DEEPENING OUR SENSE OF THE DIVINE PRESENCE
Ben Campbell Johnson
Eerdmans, 2000, 142 pp., $15
The premise here is that most people live their lives as if God doesn’t exist—but Christians, knowing God is alive, ought to be aware every second that God is everpresent. So why don’t we? Johnson focuses on this question and offers very practical methods for not only answering it, but also for growing into a deeper sense of the “Divine Presence.”
- LIVING PEACEFULLY IN A STRESSFUL WORLD: A STRATEGY FOR REPLACING STRESS WITH PEACE
Discovery House, 2000, 253 pp., $9.95
Hutchcraft takes an aggressive approach to guarding and fighting for spiritual peace in the midst of a turbulent world. Very practical, although this volume squeezes the author’s words on the pages with very small print—might be an intimidating first look.
- NOURISHED BY THE WORD: READING THE BIBLE CONTEMPLATIVELY
Liguori, 1999, 120 pp., $11.95
Same design and relative length as his book on spiritual direction (and the following book he wrote on the Jesus Prayer). Stinissen views Scripture from a holistic perspective, employing wisdom of Christian mystics as well as hands-on examples of prayer and Bible study.
- PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS: THE ANCIENT WISDOM OF THE JESUS PRAYER
Liguori, 1999, 132 pp., $13.95
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” That’s perhaps the most common form of the Jesus Prayer—an ancient phrase that not only sums up the essence of the gospel, but also has been used throughout the centuries as a path to greater communion with God. This book traces its history and how it can be used today.
- PROVOCATIONS: SPIRITUAL WRITINGS OF KIERKEGAARD
Charles E. Moore (ed.)
Plough, 2000, 430 pp., $14
A thick volume, full of Kierkegaard’s famous sayings, essays, and parables. Ideal as an introduction to his spiritual philosophies. Divided into thematic sections: To Will One Thing, Truth and the Passion of Inwardness, The Works of Love, Anxiety and the Gospel of Suffering, Christian Collisions, and Thoughts That Radically Cure.
- RECEIVING THE DAY: CHRISTIAN PRACTICES FOR OPENING THE GIFT OF TIME
Dorothy C. Bass
Jossey-Bass, 2000, 142 pp., $20
One universal lament is that life is too busy, too hectic to smell the roses. But the author charges readers to stop looking at time through modern eyes. Time isn’t a burden to get around, Bass writes, but a vehicle for experiencing God’s blessings and grace. Ancient wisdom and practical suggestions illustrate how time can indeed be back on our side.
- RESTORING MARGIN TO OVERLOADED LIVES
Richard A. Swenson, M.D. with Karen Lee-Thorp
NavPress, 1999, 179 pp., $12
Eleven sections on setting limits and prioritizing activities before burnout hits. Each study contains an intro, objectives, questions, related Bible verses, anecdotes, and options for further study.
- THE SHAPE OF LIVING: SPIRITUAL DIRECTIONS FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
David F. Ford
Baker, 1997, 201 pp., $13.99
The focus here is not allowing life to shape us, but rather to learn how we can shape our own lives—all aspects of it—in accordance with God’s will. The Anglican author is a professor of divinity from Cambridge University. The book is quite text heavy and reads just a bit academically.
- SOULCRAFT: HOW GOD SHAPES US THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS
Douglas D. Webster
InterVarsity Press, 1999, 228 pp., $12.99
An examination of our relationships with others through the prism of our relationship with God. Many topics are covered: Creation, humanity, devotion to God, singleness, love, sex, a Christ-centered response to homosexuality, marriage, parenting, divorce, and grief.
- SOUL GARDENING: CULTIVATING THE GOOD LIFE
Augsburg, 2000, 167 pp., $13.99
A unique look at the spiritual life through the eyes of the gardener. Why? Because, as the author notes, gardeners pay attention to and cherish what they’ve planted. Sections divided appropriately into the four seasons. A poetic, anecdotal, insightful creation.
- THE UNKNOWN GOD: SEARCHING FOR SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT
Eerdmans, 1999, 123 pp., $18
A beautifully constructed work from cover to cover! Soothing, eye-catching art—with several reproductions of classical religious paintings— accentuates the inviting-yet-intellectual read. (The author employs commentary from a variety of well-known thinkers.) For seekers and mature Christians alike.
- A VACATION WITH THE LORD: A PERSONAL DIRECTED RETREAT BASED ON THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
Thomas H. Green
Ignatius, 2000, 156 pp., $11.95
This book can be used in several ways: By retreat directors looking for easy-to-grasp retreat structures, by individuals interested in a personal retreat. It can be broken into an eight-day retreat in conjunction with the chapters or extended to daily devotionals for use over one or several months.
- SPIRITUAL LIFE: A QUARTERLY OF CONTEMPORARY SPIRITUALITY
About 60 pages/issue; one year subscription/$16
phone: 800/832-8489; Web site: www.spiritual-life.org
This Catholic-produced journal includes about six feature articles per issue, along with book and media reviews and spirituality resources.
- COMMONSONG: ACOUSTIC MEDITATIONS INSTRUMENTALISTS OF THE NOTRE DAME FOLK CHOIR
Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (cassette/$9.95)
Familiar tunes such as “We Gather Together” are mixed with lesser-known sacred songs from a variety of regions (the Netherlands, France, England, Ireland, Wales, and America) and traditions (Native American and Gregorian chant). Violin, mandolin, acoustic guitars, Appalachian dulcimer, Celtic harp are among the instruments employed.
- DÁNTA DÉ: CLASSIC SACRED MUSIC OF IRELAND
Ave Maria Press, $15.95 (cassette/$9.95)
Eighteen instrumentals taken directly from an Irish hymnal—Dánta Dé (or “lyrics of God”)—created shortly after the Easter Rebellion of 1928. Celtic harp, violin, mandolin, guitar, and string bass create the haunting selections here.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.