In his excellent book, The Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard advised the reader, rather than attempting to read everything one could find on prayer, to instead choose a handful of good books on prayer that have proven reliable and stand solidly within the wisdom of orthodox, ecumenical Christianity and re-read them. In this way, we take them on as guides, teachers, intimate friends on our spiritual journey. Also, we seek to gain depth and not merely breadth in our reading. Re-reading trains us in contemplation. Willard’s advice seemed to have a ring of truth to me; since then I’ve asking myself the question, “What’s on my re-read list?” (in addition to the Scriptures, that is) In my experience, the folks who I find to be reliable companions and guides are, in some instances, able to get their point across more effectively when I listen to them again. In other instances, I need their reminders to bring back to the forefront of my mind something which has receded into the background. Perhaps ironically, I have not included The Divine Conspiracy in one of my lists below. I do plan to re-read that book at some point, but I have developed a preference for relatively shorter books if I see them as books I will be reading every year or so.

So far, this is where I am, by category:

Prayer/Spiritual Life:
Reaching Out, by Henri Nouwen (read 2 or 3x)
Dimensions of Prayer, by Douglas Steere (read 2 or 3x)
Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, by Richard Foster (currently in 2nd reading)
Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster (read 2x)
Life Together, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (read 1x)

Pastoral Life:
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, by Henri Nouwen (read 4+ times)
The Contemplative Pastor, by Eugene Peterson (read 1x)

Preaching Life:
Preaching from the Soul, by Ellsworth Kalas (read 2x)
Preaching in the Spirit, by Dennis Kinlaw (read 1x)

I’d welcome others’ thoughts on books that were significant enough to you to warrant another read…

Published by Guy M Williams

Christian | Husband, Father | Pastor | 8th-Gen Texan | Texas A&M ‘96 | Asbury Seminary ‘01 | Enjoy family, reading, running, golf, college football

One thought on “re-reading

  1. the best books are the ones that seem to speak a new meaning to me each time i read them…perhaps depending on the stage & emotion that is a part of me at the time. that’s what makes a re-read book to me.

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