I just purchased another book. This one is an electronic version for the Kindle. It is Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit, by Henri Nouwen. This book isn’t really about Church history, but the first few pages did get me thinking about prayer and how our concepts of prayer may have changed over the years.
I know that Christians in some traditions have regularly spent a great deal of time in solitary prayer. Others scheduled community prayer times daily. Some have used prayer books and other written prayers, while many have just poured out their hearts to God without any kind of script. The whole history of prayer will be an interesting topic for future research and blog posts.
But, back to the Nouwen book. In the first few pages of his book, he says “Spiritual formation, I have come to believe, is not about steps or stages on the way to perfection. It’s about the movements from the mind to the heart through prayer in its many forms that reunite us with God, each other, and our truest selves. … The word heart is used here in its full biblical meaning of that place where body, soul, and spirit come together as one. … What is the value of well-trained and well-informed Christians and spiritual leaders when their hearts remain ignorant? What is the value of great theological erudition or great pastoral adeptness or intense but fleeting mystical experience or social activism when there is not a well-formed heart to guide a well-formed life?”
I think I am going to like this book.
[Quotes are from Nouwen, Henri J. M. (2010-07-09). Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit (Kindle Locations 182-185). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.]