Resource: 30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher

Easily among the most significant of my devotional aids is the 30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher series, published by Ave Maria Press. I have every volume in the series, and I’ve used them as the first step in morning prayer since 1998.

I rotate the series of the 17 volumes I have. (I’m not sure all of them are still in print.) Each presents 30 days of devotions based on the work of a significant person of faith. You get a morning prayer, a thought to revisit during the day, and an evening prayer.

Two volumes contain work from Francis of Assisi, and another specifically for Lent contains work from several people. My favorites include:

  • “You Shall Not Want,” King David and others who wrote Psalms
  • “Living in the Presence of God,” Brother Lawrence
  • “Set Your Heart Free,” Francis de Sales
  • “Simply Surrender,” Theresa of Lisieux
  • “Let Nothing Disturb You,” Teresa of Avila
  • “Draw Ever Closer,” Henri J.M. Nouwen

Two new volumes, based of the works of Thomas Merton and Augustine of Hippo, are scheduled to come out this year. The books come from a Catholic publishing house, but they are very useful for any Christian. I fully recommend these books for contemplative prayer of any kind. Other resources can be found here.

Resource: The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life

He is our Father, and He loves us, and He knows just what is best, and therefore, of course, His will is the very most blessed thing that can come to us under any circumstances. I do not understand how it is that the eyes of so many Christians have been blinded to this fact. But it really would seem as if God’s own children were more afraid of His will than of anything else in life — his lovely, lovable will, which only means loving-kindnesses and tender mercies, and blessings unspeakable to their souls! I wish only I could show to everyone one the unfathomable sweetness of the will of God.

Hannah Whitall Smith, “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”

Hannah Whitall Smith certainly tried to show everyone the sweetness of God. Her masterpiece, “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life,” is one of the most used in my library. I’ve underlined it in almost every color of pen in my many readings.

Smith published her book in 1875. Never out of print, it’s a classic of Christian literature.

Hannah Whitall Smith

Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911) was a remarkable woman, especially considering the time in which she lived. Active in the women’s suffrage and temperance movements, Smith was a Quaker and a Christian mystic. (The back cover of my version of the book calls her a “Quaker, rebel, realist.”) In addition to writing books, she preached in the Holiness movement in the United States and the Higher Life movement in the United Kingdom.

She believed in Christian mindfulness, even if she didn’t have that phrase in her vocabulary. She rested in the presence of Jesus as she lived a remarkably active life. She listened for God’s will and she did it. This book tells you how.

My battered and beloved copy of the book. Christian cultural note: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were the Christian authors recommending it on the cover when I bought it in 1979.

The book remains a relatively easy read because Smith, as a Quaker, used plain speech as she wrote it. It has a 4.5 rating on Amazon with 358 readers ranking it and a 4.3 rating on Goodreads with 1,843 rating it. More recommended books and online resources can be found here.

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hispanic woman in prayer

Resource: Richard Foster’s Prayer

The best book I’ve ever read about prayer is “Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home” by Richard Foster.

Similar in structure to his “Celebration of Discipline,” Foster divides the types of prayers into three categories:

  • Moving inward: Seeking the transformation we need. This includes the prayer of the forsaken, examen, the prayer of tears and formation prayer.
  • Moving upward: Seeking the intimacy we need. It covers the prayer of adoration, prayer of rest, sacramental prayer, unceasing prayer and contemplative prayer.
  • Moving outward: Seeking the ministry we need. Prayers include intercession, petitions, healing prayer and the prayer of suffering.

I’m not alone in treasuring this book, which proves that our prayer lives can always grow. The book won Christianity Today’s Book of the Year and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award. It’s rated 4.6 stars on Amazon.

It’s a book to use as a resource, to ponder, to experiment with. More resources to help in your Christian mindfulness journey are found here.

Resource: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World

Joanna Weaver published “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding God in the Busyness of Life” in 2000, which seems long ago. Yet, her quiet voice on the page is timeless … one of the most influential I’ve heard in my Christian mindfulness walk.

“Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” remains one of the most re-readable books for women on releasing anxiety and slowing down to sit at Jesus’ feet. She writes:

Jesus’ words to Martha are the words he wants to speak to your heart and mine: “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” That “one thing” is not found in doing more. It’s found in sitting by his feet.

Throughout the book, Joanna shows that Jesus wants us to choose the one thing: “a joyful life of intimacy with him that flows naturally into loving service.” For women who feel that they are not enough, it is a soothing balm.

On Goodreads, the book has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars with nearly 16,000 reviews. The copy of the book I have includes a study guide for individual or group use. To taste the tone of the book, here’s another gift: a version of Psalm 23 from Japan.

The Lord is my pace setter … I shall not rush.

He makes me stop for quiet intervals.

He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity.

He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day, I will not fret, for his presence is here.

His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility.

My cup of joyous energy overflows.

Truly harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours for I shall walk in the Pace of the Lord and dwell in his house forever.

Additional resources for Christian mindfulness are listed here.

Resource: Jesus Calling

“Jesus Calling” and the other works of Sarah Young are among the most useful resources I have.

We use readings from these books as devotionals for our support groups, where we serve individuals diagnosed with severe mental illness and their families.

I also use the books as part of my daily prayer round in lectio divina. I read the passage, pause to ponder it, pray parts of it out loud and then meditate on it. I rotate using Jesus Calling, Dear Jesus, Jesus Always, Jesus Today and Jesus Lives. The Jesus Calling app is one of the most used items on my phone.

Sarah Young began to write her books of devotions based on her own daily quiet time, which includes journaling. The retired Presbyterian missionary has an extraordinary ability to help people connect to the Biblical truths in a warm and loving manner.

More than 30 million of her books have been sold. Although she is biblically conservative in her faith and reformed in her doctrine, I’ve never met a Christian … liberal or conservative … who objects to her work. It is so Bible-based as to be universal.

Please enjoy some time with the Lord under her guidance.

Other resources that are useful to me are located here.

silhouette photo of man leaning on heart shaped tree

Resource: Life of the Beloved

This beautiful book — “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World” — began when a non-religious friend asked one of the late 20th century’s most renowned religious men to explain spiritual life.

Henri J.M. Nouwen responded with the manuscript for “Life of the Beloved.” Nouwen avoided spiritual “Christian-ese” and theology. He told his friend about how much God loved him and what knowledge of that love does to a person.

Nouwen’s friend still didn’t get it. At first, Nouwen thought he had failed. But the response among others who read the manuscript was overwhelming positive.

Considered one of the greatest spiritual writers of the 20th century, Nouwen was a Catholic religious who taught at Harvard, Yale and Notre Dame. He spent 10 years living and serving in a community of the developmentally disabled called L’Arche Daybreak in Toronto.

Just flipping through the book gives you gems of wisdom:

“The world is only evil when you are its slave.”

“The problem of modern living is that we are too busy to notice that we are being blessed.”

“The real question is not ‘What can we offer each other?’ but ‘What can we be for each other?’ “

“Life of the Beloved” is a masterwork, well worth your time.

Resource: Live from Rest app

Live from Rest is a Bible-based Christian meditation app that’s free and easy to use.

You can create dozens of meditation sessions in a variety of categories: shorts, rest, gratitude, centering, family, mindfulness, 12 steps, freedom and songs. The app allows you to set the duration, the backing music or sounds, and the option to have focus bells.

Live from Rest has a choice of four voices to offer some of the meditations. Bible verses and themes are used in all the guided meditations. You can also use the app as a timer for silent meditation.

Lucinda Smith is the source, who provides her story and testimony on the Live from Rest website.

The Resources page contains a list of other apps, online resources and books to support your Christian mindfulness practice.

Resource: Hope Mindfulness and Prayer

Hope Mindfulness and Prayer app presents mindfulness and meditation in Christian form. As the narrator describes it in the opening video, “Meditation is the ship, and Jesus is the captain.”

This app … use the whole name as other apps are also shortened to Hope … has a five-star rating with 105 reviews in the Apple app store. It’s an especially good app for beginners in Christian mindfulness. The graphics are well done, and it’s easy to navigate.

The 12-day guide called the Foundation for the practices is free. Getting the other meditations costs you a subscription, which is $10 a month or $70 a year.

If you pay that, you get access to hundreds of meditations in these categories:

  • Life (anxiety, stress, purpose, self-esteem, loneliness, disappointment)
  • Rest (sleep and relaxation)
  • Carpe Diem (energy, creativity, balance, productivity)
  • Virtues (happiness, love, kindness, patience, forgiveness)
  • Health (depression, dieting, chronic illness)
  • Moments (being single, healing a broken heart, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, divorce)
  • Difficulty (delays, fear of flying, test taking, public speaking, talking to a crush)
  • Sports and Recreation (training, motivation)
  • Mastery
  • Kids sleep stories

I couldn’t find much information on who created the app. It does gamify meditation with awards. Other apps for Christian mindfulness and meditation are listed on the Resources page here.

Christian Mindfulness Resource: Abide App

The Abide app was the first recommendation I received from a friend when she discovered my interest in both Christian mindfulness and the use of apps for insomnia. I now share her enthusiasm.

Abide, which costs about $40 a year for the premium version, has a wide array of Christian meditations, teachings and stories for all times of the day. It’s reportedly the #1 Christian mediation app.

The team creating Abide is Carpenters Code, a small group of former Google employees who decided to use their abilities to serve God. Their mission is to allow the world to experience the peace of Christ through Biblical meditation.

The daily guided meditations, found on the Home screen, come in lengths of 2, 5, 10 and 15 minutes, to suit our schedules.

The home or “Today” page also offer links to meditations for sleep, anxiety and emotions. A journal is on the page as well. Under the Sleep menu, Bible stories, meditations, psalms, material for children and other non-fiction meditations are available.

The Topics menus offers a variety of materials for dealing with emotions, growing spiritually, seeking guidance, healing, praying in the morning, offering thanks and more. The guides are short courses on topics including marriage, grief, money, parenting and more.

I’ve just gotten started with Abide, but so far, I highly recommend it.

Resource: Christian Mindfulness YouTube Channel

The Christian Mindfulness YouTube Channel is an active source for meditations and prayers. Updated regularly, Richard HH Johnston started the channel in 2009. Johnston speaks with a Scottish accent and operates the channel and its website, Christian Mindfulness, from the United Kingdom.

He is currently doing a Gospel Diamonds series in which he “looks at the beauty of the gospel from different angles.” The series, like much of the other material on the site, is deliberately simple in production value.

Johnston writes on the website that he created the materials based on more than 20 years of mindfulness, meditation and contemplative practice. He also provides online courses, certificates, workshops and retreats on Christian Mindfulness, contemplation and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

He noted that his materials integrate biblical theory, contemplative practices and the latest scientific studies in mindfulness, meditation and CBT.