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    The Perpetual Flame of Devotion

    How can we learn to pray in a way that pleases God? And what stands in the way?

    By Richard J. Foster

    April 27, 2022
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    • Lawrence

      The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, when they asked him how they should pray.

    • Dennise O'Grady

      I had to print this out so that I could annotate it! So helpful; so clarifying. Thank you!

    • Stephen Hoy

      I love the paragraph that begins, "Now, it was out of this experience . . ." The living room of his heart, the kitchen of his friendship, etc. I volunteer in a bible-based recovery ministry. These metaphors are fantastic for those who have no or very little insight into God's word or the ability to read it meaningfully.

    Richard J. Foster, founder of Renovaré and author of Celebration of Discipline, relates Eberhard Arnold’s thoughts on prayer to our contemporary reality in this reflective response included as an afterword in Arnold’s The Prayer God Answers, this week’s free ebook.

    Three Movements

    By means of prayer we are learning to burn the perpetual flame of devotion on the altar of God’s love. I say “learning” because there is nothing automatic or instantaneous about this way of praying.

    Now, three great movements characterize Christian prayer. Each is distinct from the others but overlaps and interacts with the others.

    The first movement in prayer involves our will in interaction and struggle with God’s will. We ask for what we need – or what we want. Often what we want exceeds what we need, and our wants can be easily influenced by ego and greed. Most certainly, a substantial part of our inner struggle in this movement involves our own human rebellion and self-centeredness. But not always. Think of Abraham struggling to offer up Isaac. Or think of Job struggling to relinquish all human attachments. Or think of Paul struggling with a “thorn in the flesh” and learning that God’s grace is sufficient for him and that God’s power is made perfect in weakness.

    So, this first movement in prayer is not to be despised. During this process we are learning the many intimate details of human interaction with our God, who is ever-loving and ever-patient.

    In time, we come into a second movement in prayer: the release of our will and a flowing into the will of the Father. Here we are learning to walk with God day by day. We are learning the contours of God’s character. And we are learning simple love for Jesus.

    Finally, we find ourselves entering into the third movement, what the great ones in the way of Christ have called “union with God” and the bringing of the will of the Father upon the face of the earth. Here we learn not only to love God, but also to love God’s ways. Through experience we come to understand that God’s ways are both altogether right and altogether good – we learn the goodness of rightness. Over time we develop a deep rhythm of living that can rest at ease with the cosmic patience of God. Here our mind and heart and spirit increasingly take on the loving character of Christ. In the earlier movements we were learning the multiplied nuances of praying, “Thy will be done.” Now, in this third movement, God gladly says to us, “Your will be done!” And to our utter amazement we discover that what we will conforms to the will of God. We are in “union” with the Divine Center, to use the phrase of Thomas Kelly.1

    An Astonishing Ministry

    These three movements in prayer are well expressed and detailed in the life and writings of Eberhard Arnold. His astonishing ministry occurred in Germany between the enormous upheavals of World War I and World War II. His major work, Innerland, absorbed his energies for most of his life. The manuscript had to be packed in metal boxes and buried at night for safekeeping from the Nazis, who raided his study on two occasions. Innerland spoke forcefully against the demonic spirits that animated German society in that day: the murderous strains of racism and bigotry, the heady nationalistic fervor, the mindless mass hysteria, and the vulgar materialism.

    In 1933 the Bruderhof, the intentional Christian community that Arnold had founded, was stormed by the Gestapo, SS, and police and its school was closed. Ultimately the Bruderhof community was forced to flee Nazi oppression, first to Liechtenstein and then to England. Today Bruderhof communities can be found in several countries around the world.

    In the midst of this tumultuous era in human history, Arnold penned his lucid and wise essay, The Prayer God Answers. In it he traverses the landscape of the three great movements in Christian prayer, providing us vital and hard-won insights into the life of faith.

    Arnold begins by addressing the foundational question: Why should we pray in the first place? Next, he helps us understand “the nature of true prayer” before turning to what is perhaps the most pressing practical question for those learning to pray: Does God really hear us when we pray? Arnold then tackles the various obstacles you and I face as we seek to pray day in and day out. He concludes with a cosmic vision of the life of the kingdom of God coming to all peoples everywhere. In the midst of the struggle and suffering that is part of the human condition, he encourages us to walk cheerfully over the earth in the love and power of God.

    I believe it would be helpful to follow each of these five salient themes and provide simple commentary upon each of them. Hopefully in this way we will be able to think with Eberhard Arnold about “the prayer God answers.”

    Why Pray?

    Arnold begins his essay with a profoundly basic question about prayer: Why pray? The question is well and good, and instinctively we are looking for the standard answers. Religious obligation perhaps. Or seeking material things. Or desperate personal need. Or even the yearning of the human heart to experience God. These reasons for praying we understand, and even expect.

    But right here Arnold turns the whole matter on its head and plunges us into the mystery of God’s unfathomable love. The opening paragraph immediately turns us toward this mystery: “God is life, rich and overflowing life. He is love, and he wants to draw all of us into his life and into his love. Time and again he seeks to lift us into the realm where his life rules.”

    Next, Arnold piles phrase upon phrase to describe this “incomprehensible love of God’s heart.” He exclaims in utter amazement, “How indescribably great is the love of God.” We bow in doxology, knowing that “the whole nature and character of God is goodness, kindness, mercy, abundant life, and strengthening love.”

    So we are drawn into prayer not by obligation or by need or by desire but by divine Love. God seeking. God waiting. God wooing. God pursuing. This emphasis upon the loving heart of God seeking us out is, of course, drawing from a long and deep biblical tradition about prayer.

    One personal life-altering experience in the summer of 1990 may help to unpack this critical teaching.2 I was working on a book on prayer. Of course, it wasn’t a book then, just thousands of notes scrawled on scraps of paper and napkins and anything else I could find. I didn’t even have a title for the book. The library staff at the university where I was teaching at the time had provided me with a room for my research. They had also given me a key to the library building so I could go in anytime, day or night.

    So we are drawn into prayer not by obligation or by need or by desire but by divine Love. God seeking. God waiting. God wooing. God pursuing.

    Over that summer I had worked in perhaps three hundred books on the topic of prayer. Classical books, contemporary books – books, books, and more books. My mind was swimming with all the definitions of prayer and all the debates about prayer. I had gotten so lost in Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle that I didn’t know which room was which!

    I will never forget that July night. There I was in the library completely alone. Everyone had left hours ago. It was late. I had read too much, studied too much. I was experiencing overload. How in one book can anyone deal with all the intricacies and all of the difficulties of prayer? There was no way. I threw up my hands, ready to abandon the project.

    Then something happened, something that even today, many years later, I have difficulty explaining. The only way I know how to describe it is that I “saw” something. What I saw was the heart of God, and the heart of God was an open wound of love. Then, as best as I can discern it, I heard the voice of the true Shepherd (not outwardly but inwardly) saying, “I do not want you to abandon the project. Instead, I want you to tell my people, tell my children, that my heart is broken. Their distance and preoccupation wounds me. Tell them, tell my children, to come home.”

    That was all. But it was enough. The word was so clear and so true to the human condition. You see, we have been in a far country. It’s been a country of noise and hurry and crowds. It’s been a country of climb and push and shove. And God is inviting you and me to come home: home to where we belong, home to that for which we were created, home to the loving heart of God.

    Now, it was out of this experience that the book’s title emerged: Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. And from this experience flowed the concept of the home as an extended metaphor for prayer. By means of the interactive relationship of prayer, God welcomes us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely. God welcomes us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun. God welcomes us into the study of his wisdom, where we can grow and stretch and ask all the questions we want. God welcomes us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight. God welcomes us into the workshop of his creativity, where we can become “co-laborers” with him, working together to determine the outcome of events. And God welcomes us into the bedroom of his rest, where we can be vulnerable and free. This is the place of deepest intimacy, where we can know and be known to the fullest.

    So why pray? Not out of obligation. Not out of a desire to “get” things from God. Not in the hopes of enhancing our standing in the religious community. No, we pray because God in his amazing grace calls to us, seeks us out, and urges us to respond to a love that will not let us go. This is why we pray.

    The Nature of True Prayer

    When Arnold writes about “true prayer” we know immediately what this is contrasted with. And while he is far too gentle to describe the opposite of true prayer in any detail, we have all been around “false prayer” long enough and often enough that we instinctively understand the contrast.

    I’ll concentrate on three major ideas. The first is that we come to experience prayer as the flow of a life. It is far too small a concept to think of prayer as a faucet that we can turn on and off at will. Rather, “It is the imbibing of life itself. If we stop praying, life ebbs away.”

    Some of us have come to speak of this reality as a “with-God” kind of life, and such a life is right at the heart of the work of prayer. In fact, the name Immanuel, meaning in Hebrew “God is with us,” is the title given to the one and only Redeemer because it refers to God’s everlasting intent for human life – namely, that we should in every aspect be a dwelling place of God. The wise apostle Paul reminds us that through Jesus “the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God” (Eph. 2:21–22).

    We are meant to live “with-God.” This dynamic, pulsating, with-God kind of life is on nearly every page of the Bible. To the point of redundancy we hear that God is with his people: with Abraham and Moses; with Esther and David; with Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Micah, Haggai and Malachi; with Mary, Peter, James and John; with Paul and Barnabas; with Priscilla and Aquila; with Lydia, Timothy, Epaphroditus, and Phoebe; and with a host of others too numerous to name. God is with us, and it is by means of prayer that we are enabled to be with God. Here. Now. Continually.

    The wonderful verse “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20) was originally penned for believers, not unbelievers. Jesus is knocking at the door of our heart – daily, hourly, moment by moment. He is longing to eat with us, to commune with us. He desires a perpetual Eucharistic feast in the inner sanctuary of the soul. Jesus is knocking, knocking, knocking. Prayer opens the door. Arnold writes, “‘Eating the flesh’ and ‘drinking the blood’ of the Son of Man actually takes place every time we meet him personally, so that he is in us and we are in him.”

    The second major idea is that the Holy Spirit is the instrumental agent of all true prayer. Arnold writes, “When we pray let us remember that God in his Spirit approaches and calls us first.” The Spirit initiates prayer, not us. When our prayers are little more than inarticulate groans and sighs, the Holy Spirit intercedes and interprets these yearnings before God for us (Rom. 8:26).

    Arnold rightly makes much of this point: “Without the Holy Spirit there is no prayer in faith. There is not even faith.” “God gives himself to us as the Holy Spirit.” “Only in this river of the Spirit, flowing full of God’s power, can faith live. Away from this river it dies like a fish on dry land.”

    small votive candles on a tiered metal stand

    Photograph by Mike Labrum (Public domain)

    The point being made here is that for prayer to be “true” something beyond us needs to occur. Something spiritual, something supernatural, something divine needs to happen. Upon this we humbly depend.

    This leads us to the third major idea. If anything of genuine substance is to occur in prayer we need to learn to listen to the Lord. “For this reason,” writes Arnold, “prayer is first listening to God.” To underscore the importance of this listening he adds, “Not only individuals, but every church and fellowship that hopes to discover powerful, united prayer first needs to practice silence, for it is important that we learn to recognize what God wishes to say.”

    Some may wonder about naming this listening silence a “major idea.” This is where we need to see the value of the hidden preparation through which God puts his people. Consider Moses in the desert, tucked away for year after silent year. “True silence,” writes Catherine de Hueck Doherty, “is a key to the immense and flaming heart of God.”3

    The great spiritual writer François Fénelon counsels us, “Be silent, and listen to God. Let your heart be in such a state of preparation that his Spirit may impress upon you such virtues as will please him. Let all within you listen to him. This silence of all outward and earthly affection and of human thoughts within us is essential if we are to hear his voice.”4 Truly silence is a “major idea.”

    This stillness in the depths of our souls can have unusual results not just for us individually but as a community as well. Arnold observes, “Through the Spirit, we will become unanimous in silence. Meeting in silence, we will hear the same voice and perceive the same truth. So unity comes into being, unity of heart and of voice.”

    Ken Medema, a blind musician, was once at a retreat center where Carolynn and I used to live and where I wrote Celebration of Discipline. At this retreat center, Tilikum, Ken penned these simple words:

    Teach me to stop and listen,
    Teach me to center down.
    Teach me the use of silence
    Teach me where peace is found.

    Teach me to hear your calling,
    Teach me to search your Word.
    Teach me to hear in silence,
    Things I have never heard.

    Teach me to be collected.
    Teach me to be in tune,
    Teach me to be directed,
    Silence will end so soon.

    Then when it’s time for moving,
    Grant it that I might bring,
    To every day and moment,
    Peace from a silent spring.5

    One of the most sterling witnesses to this reality comes from seventeenth-century theologian Robert Barclay. He happened upon a Quaker meeting for worship and graphically describes what occurred: “When I came into the silent assemblies of God’s people, I felt a secret power among them, which touched my heart. And as I gave way to it, I found the evil in me weakening, and the good lifted up. Thus it was that I was knit into them and united with them. And I hungered more and more for the increase of this power and life until I could feel myself perfectly redeemed.”6

    Three major ideas: experiencing a with-God life; learning dependence on the Holy Spirit; entering a listening silence. Arnold concludes, “When we sincerely ask God for his Spirit, he comes and speaks and acts (Acts 4:31, 8:15–17). His divine energy is always present, ready to strike like lightning. But the only ground into which it can discharge its power is our humble, concentrated readiness in prayer.”

    Does God Hear Us?

    We now come to the question that every person who is learning to pray has asked and will ask again and again. And it is right here, and in the next section on the obstacles to prayer, that we receive Arnold’s most detailed teaching on the three great movements in Christian prayer that I outlined earlier.

    Providing an answer to the question of whether God hears us is both simple and complex. The simple answer is, “Yes, indeed, God hears us. Always!” Arnold begins by reminding us of the omnipresence of God. “God is always near,” he writes, “near, very near.”

    “Near, very near.” How important for us to know this teaching deep in the marrow of our bones. Many of us, when we recite the first line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father who art in heaven,” we are actually praying, “Our Father who art very far away from us!” But in Hebrew cosmology there are several heavens and the first heaven is literally the atmosphere around us. And so Jesus is teaching us to pray, “Our Father who art right in front of our noses …” Remember, Jesus promises never to leave us nor forsake us. God does indeed hear our prayers.

    Now we come to the “complex” part in answering our question. By means of prayer God is inviting us into a living relationship with himself and he is slowly, step by step, helping us to bring our will into perfect alignment with his will. Remember, God’s will is altogether right and good. Nine times in this section alone Arnold speaks to us of God’s perfect will. But stubbornness, rebellion, and selfish desire keep us insisting on our own way, our own will, and this hinders our prayers. Remember, God never forces us to accept his will. The irresistible and the indisputable are the two things that God, by his very nature, will never use. No, God waits for us to choose the right and the good. And it is this freedom of choice, this freedom of will, that makes the answer to this question complex.

    But even in our hard-hearted rebellion Arnold reminds us: “God wants to know what our will is.” And he encourages us: “God is always ready. With the intensity of his holy will, he longs for people of faith to speak, pray, live, and believe so completely in the living Jesus that he is at last able to intervene and act as he has always wanted to act.”

    Another thing: Throughout this work of prayer we learn persistence, like the widow before the unjust judge in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:1–8). We experience “ardent longing” and “urgent desire.” We learn to keep praying and not to give up. We even learn to “be ready to suffer godforsakenness, yet still pray trustingly, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ (Luke 23:46).” These are the lessons of persistence.

    It has probably occurred to you that the question “Does God hear us?” carries with it a corresponding question: “Do we hear God?” Earlier we considered the importance of listening prayer if we are to hear from God. In addition, if we expect to hear from God we need to address the issue of the means God uses to speak to us.

    God can, of course, speak to us in many ways; who can confine the Spirit of God? In the past God has spoken to his children by means of angels, visions, dreams, signs, and fleeces. More often God has used the Bible, or the wisdom of the Christian community, or simply a gentle nudging from the Spirit. Sometimes God will speak to us through the fireworks of a Mt. Sinai. More often God bypasses the earthquake, wind, and fire and instead comes to us by means of a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:1 18).

    Most important of all is the coming of Jesus as the fulfillment of the messianic hope for a prophet like Moses who will teach his people himself. As God promised Moses, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command” (Deut. 18:18). In fulfilling this messianic hope, Jesus closes the distance that had been created between human beings and God and once again brings the people into the intimate and immediate presence of God. Indeed, Jesus becomes the eternal mediator of the presence of God. The conversational relationship is restored.

    As God’s eschatological prophet, Jesus brings to full completion the great line of the prophets. The writer to the Hebrews declares, “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various way by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by the Son” (Heb. 1:1–2). The practical difference is this: now our eternal, heavenly prophet speaks and teaches; we listen and obey. “Suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him’” (Matt. 17:5, emphasis added).

    What does this mean? Instead of a scattered succession of prophets at irregular intervals, we have the eschatological prophet who is always in our midst. Instead of a written code of laws we have the living prophet who writes his laws on our hearts. Instead of a priestly temple religion we have the heavenly priest who is able to present his people to God without blemish.

    So now, Jesus Christ is alive and here to teach his people himself. He has not contracted laryngitis. His voice is not hard to hear. His vocabulary is not difficult to understand. We can hear his voice and obey his word – today.

    Just as we can distinguish between human speakers by the quality of their voice, the spirit in their voice, and the content of what is being said, so we can learn to recognize the voice of the true Shepherd. The quality of Jesus’ voice is one of drawing and encouraging. The spirit in Jesus’ voice is all grace and mercy. And the content of what Jesus says is always consistent with what we find in scripture – we have a huge biblical witness upon which to test our leadings.

    Obstacles to Prayer

    In this section Arnold bears down hard on the central issue in the work of prayer – the transformation of the human personality. God’s intends for us to be so formed into the image of Christ that the natural outflow of our life is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23). Paul writes, “I am in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). This is God’s intent for you and for me. And prayer is one of the chief means for achieving this goal.7

    C. S. Lewis declares, “The command ‘Be ye perfect’ is not idealistic gas. … God is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. … If we let him – for we can prevent him if we choose – he will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into … a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) his own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what he said.”8

    So, the most persistent obstacle to prayer is our untransformed self. God’s will and way are not our will and way. Arnold states it rather strongly: “Our own nature is always interfering when God tries to reveal himself. Our personalities get in the way, because in each of us there are countless thoughts, feelings, and traits of character that are not completely centered on the kingdom of God or compatible with the spirit of Jesus. Every prayer is therefore inevitably burdened with personal mistakes and desires.”

    Arnold calls this struggle we have against the will of God by its proper name: sin. He especially (and rightly) focuses upon the “self” sins, such as self-esteem, self-justification, and self-importance.

    It is easy to appreciate Arnold’s passion here, especially given the historical context in which he wrote. But in pressing hard on the problem of sin he perhaps overstates his case. When he says that “sin and the prayer of faith exclude each other,” or that “God dwells only in hearts that have been completely purified,” I am concerned that these expressions can be taken in unfortunate directions.

    Maybe it is simply a matter of emphasis. When people ask me if God will answer a sinner’s prayer, I will often answer in jest, “He better or we will all be in trouble!” But in all seriousness, it is important to underscore that God is with us even in our stubbornness and rebellion.

    We often say that a little child can never draw a bad picture. Well, maybe a child of God cannot utter a bad prayer. You see, we come to God with our egocentric, greed-motivated prayers and God says, “That’s my child who has chosen to be with me. It is a good prayer and I will make it an even better prayer.” How? Well, by lovingly transforming us into better persons.

    Arnold stresses that the excessive individualism of our culture is another obstacle to a life of prayer. He writes, “Our prayers remain insipid if their primary focus is on our personal needs.” His concern here is the community life of the people of God. “In praying to God … we can overcome the human resistance of our rebellious ‘I’ only through the ‘we’ of the church.”

    The first thing we need to stress when we speak of the Christian community is that it is formed by Jesus and lives its life through Jesus. Jesus teaches us what is right and what is wrong and gives us the power to do the right and reject the wrong. Jesus is the one who gathers us into a community of faith, which learns together, prays together, obeys together, and suffers together.

    Jesus himself is the builder of this new community, this ecclesia. For God’s gathered community the central question is, “Are we living in the life and power in which the apostles lived?” If we have this, nothing else is needed. If we lack this, nothing else will suffice.

    The gathered Christian community does not come about by building up a human-made religious organization but by our responding to the call of our heavenly Prophet who brings us together into a loving, conversational relationship with God and with one another. Together we become the friends of Jesus; “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14).

    Praying for the Kingdom

    It is moving to think of Arnold penning this final section as Europe stood on the brink of the First World War. Since he is here teaching on the Lord’s Prayer as the model for our praying for the kingdom, he has to deal with the subject of forgiveness (“forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us”). Does he anticipate the horrors of the turbulent years ahead as he calls us to follow the example of Jesus on the cross and “pray most of all for those who have hurt us”? He also urges prayer for the kingdom of God to “encompass the whole world.” “Our personal prayers remain selfish unless they are placed in the larger context of God’s rulership being established on earth.”

    Prayer of this kind is no pious exercise for the devout. No, all true prayer will push us into the real world of pain and suffering, sorrow and anguish. Love of God, of necessity, leads us to love of neighbor. They are not two commands, but one. Our prayer involves work for justice and peace, work for mercy and compassion. This is no abstraction, but a real working among the bruised and broken of the world. This is how we pray for God’s kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    This is not work in our own strength but through the power of the Spirit. The surest sign that what we are doing is a cooperative work with God is that the results are far in excess of the labor we put in. Arnold says it best, “When we call on God, we are asking him to do something that we cannot, to bring into being something that we ourselves do not know how to create. We are seeking for the impossible to happen, for something to be changed irrevocably that we could never change. We are asking for a history to unfold for which we ourselves could never be responsible.”

    Perhaps no one can ever satisfactorily answer the questions we have considered: Why pray? What is true prayer? Does God hear us when we pray? What obstacles do we face in seeking to pray? How do we pray for Christ’s kingdom to come upon the earth? But as we continue to think about each of these questions in the context of ordinary life, we are learning to burn the perpetual flame of devotion upon the altar of God’s love.

    Footnotes

    1. See Thomas R. Kelly, A Testament of Devotion (New York: HarperOne, 1996).
    2. See Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992).
    3. Catherine de Haeck Doherty, Poustinia: Christian Spirituality of the East for Western Man (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1983), p. 21.
    4. François Fénelon as quoted in Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 163.
    5. Ken Medema, “Teach me to Stop,” Teach me to Stop (and Listen) (Waco, TX: Word Music, 1978).
    6. Barclay’s Apology in Modern English, ed. Dean Freiday (Manasquan, NJ: Sowers, 1980), p. 254.
    7. Prayer is one of a well-known list of spiritual disciplines that are meant to help us to “train [ourselves] in godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). I tend to think of prayer as the most basic of the disciplines of engagement (as opposed to the disciplines of abstinence) because it draws us into an ongoing, interactive communication with God in the course of daily life. For further discussion of these matters see Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998) and Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1988).
    8. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), p. 205–206.
    Contributed By RichardFoster Richard J. Foster

    Richard J. Foster is the founder of Renovaré, an ecumical Christian community, and the author of several books including A Celebration of Discipline (Harper San Francisco, 1988).

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