In the past few weeks, I’ve read some books that I love … ones that I think are worth reading – worth keeping on your bookshelf to review again and again!
Prayer in the Night
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.from the Anglican Compline
Tish Harrison Warren’s book Prayer in the Night examines the spiritual discipline of prayer, particularly at times of gloom and struggle. She uses a portion of the Anglican Compline to build her book. Warren experienced a dark night of the soul, and the portion of the prayer above was her go-to prayer.
In her book, Warren emphasizes the importance of embracing darkness and vulnerability in prayer rather than avoiding or trying to overcome it. Warren encourages readers to lean into their doubts, fears, and pain and trust that God is present in those moments.
Throughout the book, Warren also provides insights into the history of Christian prayer, drawing from various traditions and practices. She explores the power of liturgy, the importance of communal prayer, and the role of silence and solitude in deepening one’s relationship with God. I’ve written about how liturgy and written prayers help provide language for my own prayers – that’s especially true in difficult times. That’s why Warren’s book resonates so deeply.
Prayer in the Night is a thoughtful and honest exploration of the practice of prayer, offering guidance and encouragement for anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual life. I will be reading it again and can definitely recommend it!
Peace Is a Practice: An Invitation to Breathe Deep
and Find a New Rhythm for Life
Peace is a practice. The word practice means “to carry out,” and peace is a way of living that we can carry out each day—maybe not everywhere all at once, but we can learn to find peace and live in its presence. … “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9)—humbling, eternal words, carved through the wild, centuries after they were spoken. Peace is an invitation in daily life to breathe deep, right here, in the uncertainty.Peace Is a Practice, by Morgan Harper Nichols, pg. 5
I first discovered Morgan Harper Nichols on Instagram. Her words and art are captivating! And then as I read more, I discovered that Nichols recently learned that she has autism, helping her to understand much of her youth. I was intrigued which led me to read her book, Peace is a Practice. Her book is part memoir and part self-help as she shares multiple ideas for practicing peace.
A key point Nichols shares in her work is that we cannot discover peace alone. We learn peace from one another, communicating peace to one another. For me, this is the theme of 2023 – learning more about relationships, connection, and discipleship. I’m reminded of the proverb,
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17 NLT). Peace is a practice, a process that solidifies when we walk humbly and openly with our people.
You may find Morgan Nichols’ book a helpful read if you are looking for ideas for being more at peace within yourself.
All My Knotted-Up Life: A Memoir
Somewhere inside the balled-up, walled-up mass of tangled strands in the life of faith, the inscrutable God of heaven and earth has the loose ends tied. The ones that mean anything, anyway. Tied securely. Tied sturdily. Tied in such a way that all the human tugging, doubting, and fretting in the world can’t loose them. Tied in such a way no mortal mind could calculate. … In all the letting go, he has held me fast. He will hold me still. And he will lead me home. Blest be the tie that binds.All My Knotted-Up Life, pg. 289
Beth Moore published a memoir, All My Knotted-Up Life, this winter and it’s such a blessing! Even though I have known about Beth for many years, I’ve never done one of her studies or watched her lessons. It’s only been in the last few years that I have started following her story. In 2020, I read her book, Chasing Vines. It is still a favorite – her trip to Italy and the connections she made to John 15 teaching on the vineyard, the gardener, the vine, the fruit, and the harvest were so good!
Trust in the Lord & do good. Do people good. Do not only what is right. Do what is GOOD. Benevolence in an age of brutality. Kindness in a culture of meanness. Grace in a space that takes pride in harsh judgment. Service rather than superiority. We don’t always know exactly what God would have us do next. But we know how to do good in his name …Tweet, Beth Moore, March 15
Today, I follow Beth on Twitter. Twitter is a combative space but it has some of the best spiritual soundbites! It’s my favorite space for a sermon in less that 300 characters and Beth’s tweets often make my day!
Read Beth’s memoir – hear her story – I recommend it! Her words will have you laughing, crying, shaking your head, and praising God!
Jesus though the Eyes of Women: How the First Female Disciples Help Us Know and Love the Lord
Jesus’s doubling of Martha’s name communicates tenderness. The only other time Jesus speaks like this to an individual in Luke is when he says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31–32). … Jesus’s address to Martha is heartfelt. If he’d spoken it in English today, he might have said, “Oh, Martha!” … Martha thinks she’s serving Jesus by giving him a meal. But Jesus clarifies that he’s the one serving the real food—and Mary is right to sit at his table.Jesus though the Eyes of Women, pp. 47-48
I have not quite finished reading Jesus Through the Eyes of Women by Rebecca Mclaughlin but I already want to read it again and take notes … or better yet, read it with some other women to think more deeply about the content, to discuss it together. And the book is set up to do just that. Rebecca includes discussion questions at two levels – deep and deeper!
Rebecca’s book is an excellent deep dive into Jesus’ character and his interactions with women as told through the gospels. It was intriguing because women in scripture were drawn to Jesus because of His sincere love for them … He did not see them first as people that needed to be corrected.
I read Rebecca’s books on Confronting Christianity and Secular Creed. This book is very different – one I am enjoying much more. If you are curious about women in Scripture – particularly the New Testament, I can highly recommend Rebecca’s book!
What books are you reading?