Winner of a 2006 Logos Book Award, Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton, helps the reader discover how to make deep intimacy with God a reality in your life through the activities of spiritual disciplines. This isn’t a book that just describes seven key disciplines, but helps you discover how choosing to work those disciplines into your routine could be transformative, allowing you to live with a natural “sacred rhythm” built into each day. I have read other books on spiritual transformation, and I can honestly say this one has touched me more profoundly than any other. This is not a typical book on spiritual growth. It is an invitation to discover the depth of God’s love for you in new ways.
Ruth begins the book by sharing a bit of her own journey and how it began with a longing for more intimacy with God. By taking time first to be in solitude, listening to her own heart’s longings, the desire to grow in relationship with God grew. Ruth has a gentle style to her voice, inviting the reader to listen for that spiritual longing within themselves. She stresses that relationship with God is a two-way street … we cannot transform ourselves; only God can do that. But, she encourages us in ways to arrange our lives to make transformation possible. Rather than a set of “rules,” the book provides practical ways to seek the presence of God and invites us to open ourselves up to his work in our lives so he can truly transform us.
The seven spiritual disciplines Ruth describes also include reflections on discernment and self-examination. These practices can be easily woven into life on a daily basis, but I have found myself also eager to take a personal spiritual retreat to delve into them more deeply. Perhaps that’s because I related most deeply to her chapters on solitude, honoring the body, and Sabbath-keeping. In fact, Ruth encourages us to choose disciplines that fit our individual needs.
The back of the book has notes on how to take this journey with a small group of people as well as appendices with very helpful information. There is lots of encouragement and support in helping us practice these disciplines while discussing them with others who are also on the journey. Would you like to join me? – by Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist