The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things
By Leighton Ford
“Spiritual inattentiveness, I believe, comes in large part from our fear of being known for who we really are. Often we keep ourselves busy and distracted because we fear that if we slow down and are still, we may look inside and find nothing there.” —Leighton Ford
Leighton Ford has been busy most of his adult life. He served, in fact, for thirty years with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and he continues to head Leighton Ford Ministries.
Recently, however, Ford has felt himself changing. The shift is not so much a departure from the principles of evangelism and outreach, he says, but rather a redirection of those energies. What Ford has begun to call his “second journey,” is a kind of in-reach.
In keeping with his ongoing evangelistic convictions, Ford sees his latest book The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things as part of a new mission: to become an “artist of the soul.” And while the contemplative life is very often a solitary one, he hopes to be a companion to his readers: “I have sensed a strong call to be … a friend on the journey, especially to younger men and women, and others, who seek to be led by Jesus, to lead like him and to lead to him, and who have a hunger to be whole people.”
The book follows the tradition of praying the hours. Ford encourages readers to begin to see their spiritual lives as composed of distinct periods that correspond to stages of the day—morning, midday, afternoon, evening and nighttime. Because we experience many different impulses and desires in these phases, he argues, we need the power of attention to bring a sense of coherence:
“Each of us is called to a life patterned by Christ,” Ford writes. “A life not shaped by inner compulsions, or captive to outer expectations, but drawn by the inner voice of love. To listen to this voice, we need to pay careful attention to where our inner and outer selves disconnect and where they need to come together in a beautiful pattern that reflects Jesus.”
To read more about Leighton Ford and The Attentive Life, see ivpress.com.