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Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer Hardcover – September 8, 2011
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"One can pick up books on prayer at the local supermarket that promise a richer, deeper and more spiritual life - all in 29 days! They are all bogus, along with many other popular books on prayer. Leave them on the shelves and read this one." (Roy W. Howard, Presbyterian Outlook, January 9, 2012)
"You can only read so much elegant prose inviting you to pray before you feel guilty for not actually praying. Richard Foster notes this difficulty, quoting Thomas Merton: 'You cannot learn meditation from a book. You just have to meditate.' True enough, but good books help, and Sanctuary of the Soul is a good one." (Jason Byassee, Books & Culture, January/February 2012)
"This book demonstrates why meditative prayer is one of the church's most precious assets in this moment of widespread distraction." (Just Between Us, Winter 2011)
"[Foster's] quiet writing style models the listening stillness he wishes to impart. Amid many books on meditative prayer, Foster's stands out for its clarity, simplicity, and focus." (Publisher's Weekly, August 8, 2011)
"Foster's writing is lyrical, his advice sensible, his encouragement profound as he urges Christians to tap into the 'listening side' of the 'interactive communication that transpires between God and ourselves.' Those who follow Jesus can only benefit from Foster's newest book." (Ann E. Byle, Christian Retailing, September 2011)
"This is Richard Foster at his best--describing the inner life with clarity and wisdom gained from his own experience. The content of this book, as experienced through his teaching, changed my life thirty years ago, opening me to a real, vibrant relationship with God through silence and listening. Over time this teaching has matured, and is destined to become a classic. If you want to experience an intimate relationship with God, simply read this book and put it into practice. Heaven awaits!" (James Bryan Smith, author, The Good and Beautiful God)
"Full of depth and substance, Foster's writing on meditative prayer is a winsome invitation to intimacy with God that engages us at every level of our being." (Ruth Haley Barton, founder, Transforming Center, and author of Sacred Rhythms)
"Richard Foster diagnoses this generation's major threat to the mature life in Christ as distraction. In response he does again what he does so well: tunnels to the roots of our deep-rooted ancestors and makes us firsthand participants in the church's practice of a life of meditative prayer." (Eugene H. Peterson, translator of The Message)
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Top Customer Reviews
"Tell my people, tell my children, that my heart is broken. Their distance and their preoccupation wound me... Tell them. Tell my children to come home." (Richard Foster; Sanctuary of the Soul. pg150)
I think this, arguably, might be the heart and soul of this book; a call to slowing down and lessening the distance between ourselves and our Father, God.
I love the pace and the tone that Richard Foster shares this journey into meditative prayer. From the very opening pages of the book, Foster shares with gentleness, humility, and the patience of a wizened teacher the lessons he has learned during his years of study and experience in the discipline of meditative prayer.
The book is divided into three main sections: Part One, Laying the Foundation; Part Two, Stepping into Meditative Prayer; and Part Three, Dealing with Everyday Distractions. Each section is comprised of three chapters with an average length of nine pages. The book is a relatively quick read and moves along at an engaging pace. I didn't have any difficulty following the flow of the book at all, but I do have a somewhat studied background on the topic of meditative (aka "centering" and "contemplative") prayer and I am familiar with most of the sources cited by Foster in Sanctuary. I took note that it seemed as though special attention was given to avoiding esoteric terms that might be unfamiliar to a broad audience. I think this is important to making a book of this nature accessible to the masses and I think this is exactly what Sanctuary of the Soul is... accessible, readable, and understandable regardless of where a person may be with respect to their spiritual journey and maturity therein.Read more ›
After arriving at the mountain, you will recall that Elijah witnesses a great wind, a mighty earthquake, and a consuming fire, but the Lord is not found in these displays. It is not until Elijah hears the sound of sheer silence that he comes to a knowledge of God's presence. Only then is he prepared to listen.
Richard Foster, in Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey into Meditative Prayer, encourages his readers to enter the silence, to quiet the soul, and to assume a posture of attentiveness. Foster's writings have consistently named our greatest spiritual problem as distraction, and through this small book, he shares wisdom with his readers and helps them to learn the fine art of listening to and abiding with God.
Foster's work is structured according to three primary themes: foundational concerns, the practice of meditative prayer, and assistance in resolving everyday problems. Prayer is challenging for many people, and the notion that we might enter in to an extended period of solitude, silence, or attentive listening as an act of prayer may seem foreign. Oftentimes, we are accustomed to tailoring our prayers according to our wants and needs, rather than engaging with God as a willing recipient of grace, wisdom, and guidance.
First, Foster begins with foundational matters. The book opens with a simple affirmation:
"Jesus Christ is alive and here to teach his people himself.Read more ›
Richard Foster gives very helpful steps into the heart of prayer. In a real sense this is spiritual guidance at its best, providing a format that draws us into the very presence of God. The opening part of moving from the mind into the heart is a beautiful description of creating a space for God and entering into the inner sanctuary of the heart. His treatment of sanctifying the imagination and spiritual reading of scripture, lectio divina, is extremely well done, allowing the meaning of the text to flow into us and giving a personal word for our life.
Richard Foster gives very helpful instructions on meditative prayer, first in recollection, which includes glad surrender, repentance and confession, and accepting the ways of God. The second part on "Beholding the Lord" is particularly striking in terms of setting the mind on Christ. He calls this holding our heart in God's presence. What nourishing thoughts. The third part of the prayer of listening giving inward attentiveness to divine motions speaks so clearly of what happens in extended prayer discerning the voice of God.
In this book the author tells three moving stories of experiences of meditative prayer where he goes for retreat.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. I am reading it for the third time. It is a book to read reflectively and to grow into. American culture desperately needs this book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by West MI
Richard Foster has beautifully simplified Meditation. I loved how this book was organized into a meaningful journey with him.Published 10 months ago by Georgina Street
When I first reviewed the book I only gave it 4 stars. That was early on but the deeper I got into the book the more it opened me heart to prayer and the two way relationship with... Read morePublished 11 months ago by LWKowalski
This is not just beautifully written in a way that engages aesthetic sensibilities, but it was clearly written from plumbed places, and thus for me, "deep calls unto deep. Read morePublished 16 months ago by PeacefulSeeker
This book is just what I've been looking for. After studying this book I feel equipped to pray and listen.Published 17 months ago by Lisa Martin
Amazingo introduction to meditative prayer. It is simply written and gives a clear understanding to those yearning to enter into this discipline. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Eunice Oyungu