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I am excited to share with you my review of Holy Silence: The Gift of Quaker Spirituality by J. Brent Bill. J. Brent Bill is a writer, photographer, popular speaker, retreat leader, and a Quaker minister. You can learn more about J. Brent Bill at BrentBill.com.
I walk away with three takeaways from this wonderful book.
“Quaker silence is pregnant with holy expectation. It is filled with anticipation that Jesus will be there.” I practice centering prayer. Centering prayer opens me to the gift of contemplative prayer.
Contemplative prayer is a silent sit with God. I bring no agenda. I open my mind, heart and body to God who is beyond thoughts, words and emotions. I sit with God because I love God.
During centering prayer, I open to God’s presence and action within. I will continue to be open but I will also “expect” that Jesus will be there! I will also “expect” that Jesus will speak to me! “Quaker silence is filled with expectation-expectation that God will speak. When we hear God, our lives are changed.”
I sit in silence two to three times per day. “In the New Testament we find many examples of Jesus’s seeking the silence of solitude, even group solitude.” I need silence in community. There are centering prayer groups in my community. I must seek them out and also sit in community silence. Silence in community is powerful.
Brent shares what to expect when you attend a traditional Quaker silent service. Two years ago I attended a traditional Quaker silent service. I sat in an old meeting house with at least one hundred adults and children. I must do so again. I miss this vital form of silence.
At the end of the book, Brent provides some silent practices. One practice caught my attention. “As you move through this day, look for places where you might be quiet….washing dishes, riding the train to the office, walking in the woods.” These moments are available to us each day. It is in these ordinary and sometimes mundane moments that I can and will encounter the Divine.
“I need God’s help. That is why holy silence is an important part of Quaker life.” I too need God’s help! Where will I best find God’s help? I will find it in the silence of the holy hush.
Please read this short but life-changing book. It will forever change how you think about silence.
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Are you in the Philadelphia PA area? Invite me to speak or teach Centering Prayer at your church or community gathering. Feel free to contact me to obtain more information.
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David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings. Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners.
Check out my review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain. It also works well in group studies too.
Listen to Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright. It is based upon his book Simply Good News. You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament. Also works well in group studies.
Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus. Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright.
Discover the Context, Content & Production of the New Testament in The Bible- An Introduction to the New Testament by Scott Metz.
Contemplative Light is a group of Spiritual Directors and writers. They offer a unique style of contemplative coaching based on the teachings and traditions of Christian Mysticism. Sign up for a Free Spiritual Map Session.