If you are someone who is feeling drawn to a time of solitude and silence and yet cannot begin to imagine how this could happen for you, this is your book. Ruth Haley Barton begins by writing that she did not know where to start either,and uses her learned experience toguide you into new depths in your relationship with Jesus. The book also recognizes the negative effects of being “dangerously tired,” and provides a “Practice” section at the end of each chapter that will usher you into a time of silence as you ponder the content. The book’s appendix also includes a self-help guide in the appendix for spending a personal day in solitude, and group guide for shared solitude.
Writing about this book by Jan Johnson, author Brennan Manning called it “a well-written and finely constructed introduction to the prayer of simple regard.” Author James Bryan Smith wrote, “The best recommendation anyone can give to any how-to book is this: It makes you long to do it yourself. That was certainly the case for me when I finished When the Soul Listens. It made me yearn for a deeper, wider and more consistent practice of contemplative prayer in my own life.” I (Mark Warner) couldn’t agree more. I listened to this wonderfully practical book while traveling on sabbatical and was moved by how accessible it is. The practice of Contemplative or Abiding Prayer is a central practice of Christian Spiritual Formation and Jan Johnson does a wonderful job of inviting the reader into a different kind of life with God.