- Winner of a Christianity Today Book Award
Much of our faith and practice is about wordspreaching, teaching, talking with others. Yet all of these words are not enough to take us into the real presence of God where we can hear his voice. This book is an invitation to you to meet God deeply and fully outside the demands and noise of daily life. It is an invitation to solitude and silence.
The beauty of a true invitation is that we really do have a choice about embarking on this adventure. God extends the invitation, but he honors our freedom and will not push himself where he is not wanted. Instead, he waits for us to respond from the depths of our desire. Will you say yes?
This expanded edition includes a guide for groups to use both in discussing the book content and in learning to practice silence together.
About the Author
Ruth Haley Barton is a spiritual director, teacher, author and retreat leader trained at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation (Washington, D.C.). She is founder of the Transforming Center, a ministry of spiritual formation to pastors and Christian leaders, along with the congregations and organizations they serve.
Educated at Wheaton College and Northern Seminary, Barton has served at several churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. Her books include Sacred Rhythms, Longing for More and Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership (all InterVarsity Press).
Dallas Willard (1935-2013) was a professor in the School of Philosophy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles for over forty years. A highly influential author and teacher, Willard was as celebrated for his enduring writings on spiritual formation as he was for his scholarship. His books include The Divine Conspiracy (Christianity Today's Book of the Year in 1998), The Spirit of the Disciplines, Hearing God, Renovation of the Heart and others. His books have received numerous Christianity Today Annual Book Awards and other recognitions.
Willard served on the boards of the C. S. Lewis Foundation and Biola University, and was a member of numerous evaluation committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He received bachelor's degrees from both Tennessee Temple College and Baylor University and a graduate degree at Baylor University, as well as a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Philosophy and the History of Science.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Dallas Willard
First Kings 19:1-19
1 Beyond Words
4 Dangerously Tired
5 Rest for the Body
6 Rest for the Mind
7 Rest for the Soul
9 Facing Ourselves
10 Pure Presence
11 Receiving Guidance
12 For the Sake of Others
Appendix: A Day in Solitude
Sharing Silence: A Guide for Groups
What People are Saying About This
"If you would really like to know the 'rest appropriate for the people of God' (Heb 4:9), then make the decision to leave all outcomes to God and enter the practice of solitude and silence with Ruth Barton as your guide. As you do so, call upon Jesus to be with you, and trust him for that. In a relatively short period of time you will come to know the 'rest unto your souls' promised by him who is meek and lowly of heart."
"I have not otherwise found a more excellent and accessible guide for those who seek, as Elijah, to know and be known by God in solitude and silence. . . . I have given this book to all of our employees and it has become an integral part of what we call '8:30 Stillness.'"
Gary A. Haugen, president of International Justice Mission
"The author's own journey serves as a backdrop for a welcoming invitation to experience the spiritual restoration of solitude and silence. Her compelling invitation combines both a clear explanation of the purpose of solitude and seasoned guidance on how to practice it."
James C. Wilhoit, Ph.D., Price-LeBar Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College Graduate School
"I find books in the genre of the contemplative life are often written by mystics who occupy some rarified, ethereal realm in which I don't seem to live. Not so with Ruth Haley Barton's Invitation to Solitude and Silence. Ruth takes us on her journey into solitude and silence as one, like most of us, who must learn to commune with God in the muchness of life."
Greg Ogden, Author of Discipleship Essentials, and Executive Pastor of Discipleship, Christ Church of Oak Brook
"Ruth Haley Barton has gifted us with a vital way to deeper intimacy with God and our own true self in God through the neglected disciplines of solitude and silence. Along with her own honest biographical witness, she offers us a variety of concrete practices that can help the reader enter solitude and silence with greater ease and understanding of the ways God is present for us in such times, often in the face of our resistances. What she has given us can contribute significantly to a more mature and full spiritual life. She convincingly shows us the vital spiritual importance of an intentional rhythm of work and rest, solitude and community, silence and word."
Tilden Edwards, Founder and Senior Fellow, Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation, Bethesda, Maryland
"Invitation to Solitude and Silence provides wonderful spiritual companionship on the quest for intimacy with God. Read it through to stir your appetite, then return to savor each chapter, engaging the practical steps into the silence where your soul can find rest in the Father's arms. Written in a style reminiscent of the spiritual guides of centuries past, yet current, vibrant, and alive with personal reflection and scriptural application. Ruth Barton has whispered a call to overcome the fear of solitude and follow the soul's deepest longing to experience God's presence. A passionate, transformational resource that will foster both personal spiritual growth and spiritual formation in a group setting."
William R. Cutrer, Gheens Professor of Christian Ministry, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In a moment of hurt, confusion, and frustration I happened to have find this book on my book shelf and decided, why not. After reading chapter one, I knew this book would be something that would change my life and my walk with Christ.In Ruth Haley Barton's book Invitation to Solitude and Silence, she follows the story of Elijah to outline how to hear Jesus in an often loud and confusing world. Ruth walks you through, chapter by chapter, on how to begin or extend your quite time, quite time, and/or mediation time. Following each chapter, there is an application part that helps sum up what you read and also take the time to put into practice what the chapter talks about. For someone who hadn't really spent a lot of time in silence, this book was great to learn how to quite my mind and enter into a time where I can be real and honest with Jesus. This is one of those books that I will re-read once a year as I feel that no matter where you are in your walk, this book will be helpful to you! I also recommend it as a small group study too.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this book! It is relatively short and has short chapters with ways to practice silence and solitude at the end of each chapter. This book came at a great time for me spiritually, as I am seeking to connect to God in deeper ways. The book is written in a kind of journal format and the author is very open and transparent with her struggles in her own process of seeking God. I'd recommend this book for Christians looking to slow down and connect more deeply with God.
This is a phenomenal book! I think this is a must for EVERY woman and some men who have trouble winding down enough to hear God speak to their hearts. All too often we are busy, Busy, BUSY and forget to be still and really take in our surroundings. Life is precious and beautiful and we take it for granted. Barton does a great job of explaining WHY we should do this, why we NEED to do this and HOW to do this. Each chapter ends with an application which is oh-so-helpful!
Give it a shot... your soul, and body, will thank you!
This book teaches you how to sit in God's presence and just be. Learn how to let God set the agenda and do the deep work that He desires most to do while you wait on Him. Of the many devotional books I've read, this is the most profoundly effective. Busyness, emotions, or noise no longer block my sense of God's presence and His peace.