Directions for Contemplative Prayer: A Bibliography – John Boruff

Be still, and know that I am God. –Psalm 46:10

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. –Hebrews 12:2

CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER is the most important of all experiential disciplines in the Christian life. It is the one practice that can awaken your spiritual senses to hear the voice of the Lord, and see and experience visions and dreams from the Holy Spirit. It is the gateway to prophecy, revelation, and faith for miracles:–quite simply, this practice, long held to be the exclusive property of a few Catholic saints, is literally the most important prayer method ever developed in the history of mankind, and I believe, it is revealed by God. From what I can tell, it involves trinitarian and Christ-centered concentration in absolute stillness and quietness. However, simple as this “prayer of simplicity” is, it takes often some other trails of thought to reach this state. Various books in the classical Catholic (and sometimes Protestant) traditions have been written as guides for this practice. While others, as impostors of contemplative prayer, deviate from orthodoxy, and mix other religions, and Zen meditation or yoga into it (as in the case of Thomas Merton and the “centering prayer” teachers: and especially avoid ANY mystical/contemplative books by Doubleday/Image Books; such as Thomas Merton’s Contemplative Prayer, M. Basil Pennington’s Centering Prayer, or the lesser known ones: William Johnston’s Christian Zen or Anthony de Mello’s Sadhana: A Way to God, which titles betray them blatantly as a New Age mixture with Catholic contemplation. Stay away from such books! Stay way from Doubleday/Image!). But in this list, I will provide you with classic orthodox writings. Although they publish a little bit of Merton and Pennington, I think Paraclete Press is a great alternative:–they seem to be more in line with the traditional Catholic spiritual tradition, and steer away from all this neo-Catholic New Age contemplative stuff.

300s – John Chryssavgis’ In the Heart of the Desert, ch. 17
300s – Lois Farag’s Balance of the Heart, ch. 6
300s – John Cassian’s Conferences, chs. 9-10
300s – Benedicta Ward’s The Sayings of the Desert Fathers (Liturgical Press)
300s – Tomas Spidlik’s Prayer: The Spirituality of the Christian East
300s – The Desert Fathers, ch. 12: “Unceasing Prayer” (Penguin)
300s – Christine Paintner‘s Desert Fathers and Mothers, chs. 10 and 12
400s – Mary Earle’s Holy Companions, ch. 16 (Celtic Saints)
400s – John Newell’s Celtic Christian Spirituality, ch. 2: “Prayer”
400s – Esther De Waal’s The Celtic Way of Prayer
500s – Anselm Grun’s Benedict of Nursia, 2.2: “Prayer and Work”
1100s – Richard of St. Victor’s The Mystical Ark
1200s – Ilia Delio’s Franciscan Prayer
1200s – Timothy Johnson’s The Soul in Ascent, chs. 1 and 3
1350s – The Cloud of Unknowing (Paraclete Press, Bangley, 2009; inf. Tozer, ch 1)

1380s – Walter Hilton’s The Scale of Perfection
1400s – Jean Gerson: Early Works (great!)
1527 – Francisco de Osuna’s The Third Spiritual Alphabet
1500s – Peter of Alcantara’s Treatise on Prayer and Meditation

1565 – The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila, chs. 11-22

1600s – Present: The Age of Modern Rationalism

1657 – Augustine Baker’s Holy Wisdom
1675 – Michael Molinos’ The Spiritual Guide (influenced John Wesley)

1700s – Benedict XIV’s Heroic Virtue, vol 1, chs. 5-6
1700s – G. B. Scaramelli’s A Handbook of Mystical Theology
1700s – How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer
1835 – Adam Clarke’s Christian Theology, ch. 15
1910 – Augustin Poulain’s The Graces of Interior Prayer
1948 – A. W. Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, ch. 7

1984 – Benedict Groeschel’s Listening at Prayer
1987 – Mary Ruth Swope’s Listening Prayer
1992 – Richard J. Foster’s Prayer, ch. 14
1997 – Jim Goll’s Consecrated Contemplative Prayer
1999 – Pat Gastineau’s Contemplative Prayer
2000 – Jim Goll’s Wasted on Jesus, ch. 3
2002 – Thomas Dubay’s Prayer Primer, ch. 9

—–

General Books on “Supernatural Prayer”

1993 – Dr. Richard Booker’s Supernatural Prayer and Fasting
2006 – Nancy Dufresne’s A Supernatural Prayer Life
2007 – Mahesh Chavda’s The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting
2009 – Derek Prince’s The Secrets of a Prayer Warrior
2011 – Phillip Rich’s Supernatural Prayer
2011 – Leo Hall’s Engaging the Supernatural
2012 – Michael Perkin’s Explosive Prayer
2014 – Gbenga Showunmi’s Prayer for Supernatural Favor (14 pgs)
2014 – Mike Shreve’s Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results
2015 – Augusto Perez’s Signs and Wonders

Book Idea: 50 page manual.

Contemplation of God:
Ancient Principles of Supernatural Prayer

1. Directions for the Mind in Prayer
2. Drawing Near to God
3. Feeling the Presence of Holy Love
4. Hearing the Voice of the Lord
5. Visions and Dreams

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About John Boruff

John Boruff is a Philosophy and Religion graduate from UNC Pembroke. In his free time, he blogs about the Christian life; and has special interests in evangelism and spiritual gifts. He identifies himself as a Reformed Arminian Pentecostal. He’s also a husband and dad. John loves street preaching. His influences are Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, John Wesley, Charles Finney, etc. John is always in the process of writing; and is posting free e-books on this site for cultivating a deeper Christian life. Among them are his 'How to Experience God' and 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ.' He is currently working on the lives of great prophets in church history—from Catholic saints to Protestant reformers and revivalists. He is also working on a Biblical theology of poverty alleviation.
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