Sunday, March 27, 2016

Review: Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God by Dallas Willard (Updated and Expanded Edition)

Synopsis: Being close to God means communicating with Him-telling Him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but that also can be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear? The key, says best-selling author Dallas Willard, is to focus not so much on individual actions and decisions as on building our personal relationship with our creator. In this updated classic, originally published as In Search of Guidance, the author provides a rich, spiritual insight into how we can hear God's voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with Him in the work of His kingdom.  This updated and expanded edition includes new material from the author’s teaching at the Renovar√© Institute. A new appendix highlights key questions related to hearing God and helps you find the answers in the text, as does the Scripture index. Also added to this edition are six lecto divina exercises places throughout the book that guide you into the experience of hearing God. (from the back of the book)
Review: Having been a Christian for almost 30 years, I can tell you that the one thing all Christians want most, and yet struggle with the most, is hearing God. As our world grows increasingly loud and we are bombarded with messages, lies mostly, it is nearly impossible to find the inner stillness and clarity of mind and heart required to know God’s will.
Willard’s work tells us how. And it is both easier and harder than one thinks. Easier, because it is open to all who want it. Harder, but it requires dedication, patience, and above all, an absolute sacrifice of all we are and want and have. In short, it requires a radical shift, a stepping out of the world and into the Kingdom of God.
Being that Willard is a professor of philosophy, his writing is more complex and verbose that your average Christian prose. But it is well worth any effort put forth for the truth and understanding, the life-changing knowledge that one can learn. His book is not for the faint of heart. It requires careful and thoughtful study.
Willard’s general premise is this: Hearing God comes from Knowing God. We know God the way we know anyone – through daily interactions, mostly, through study of the Bible. The more we know God, the more we will recognize His voice, however it reaches us – through the Bible, through preachers, teachers, authors, and friends, and through the still, small, voice of the Holy Spirit. This of course is something all Christians know intellectual, but most never put into daily practice.
I highly recommend Willard’s book for any Christian who wishes to have their life and relationship with God challenge. If you read this with an open heart and mind, you cannot fail to grow.
“Spiritual People are not those who engage in Spiritual Practices; they are those who draw their life from a conversational relationship with God.” (pg. 288)

Bookmarks: 8 of 10

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-8308-3569-0
Year Published: 1984 (Under the title "In Search of Guidance). This edition was published in 2012
Date Finished: 3-25-2016
Pages: 304

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