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The Way of the Heart

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  3,421 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
Tale on how can Christians live as God wants in today's world.
Paperback, 86 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by Darton Longman and Todd (first published 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 18, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my shelf for quite awhile but had not gotten around to reading it. A couple of weekends ago I was scheduled to take a "personal retreat" which I try to do 3 or 4 times per year. As I perused my two shelves worth of Christian spirituality, formation, etc...the title caught my eye so I stuffed it in my bag with 2 or 3 other books for the weekend.

It only took a few pages to realize Nouwen was going to nail me. He identifies greed and anger as two critical sins which tend to pl
Mar 04, 2009 Gregory marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
The best book for blogging.
from Stuff Christians Like by Prodigal Jon

Sometimes people ask me for tips about blogging. I don't feel particularly qualified to answer that question even though I do blog a lot. What I can tell you though is the name of the best book ever written about blogging:

"The Way of the Heart" by Henri Nouwen.

Here are three things I can tell you about this book:

1. It is only 84 pages long.
2. It only costs $9.31 on Amazon so it's super cheap.
3. I underlined almost every line on
(Upon my second reading)

“Arsenius, flee, be silent, pray always, for these for these are the sources of sinlessness.”

A valuable retrospective on the prayer life of the Desert Fathers, and Eastern Orthodox Christians. Drawing on the main themes of solitude, silence and prayer, Nouwen offers an alternative to the western church’s going-through-the-motions approach to following Christ.

“Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing can we show our wounds; only with a
Sarah Milad
Mar 02, 2016 Sarah Milad rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
معرفش...بس مش زي كتب هنري نويين..لدرجة اشعر انه مش كتابه اساسا!!!
معرفش يمكن عشان الاب داود لمعي حاطط التاتش بتاعه......مش عارفة
الكتاب يغلب عليه الطابع الارذوثكسي بشدة و يمكن كمان لاني مش مقتنعة بفكرة رهبنة و الهروب للصحراء ...و كتاب كله كده !!! و أري انها عكس ما يطلبه منا الكتاب المقدس.

بس الكتاب لطيف

إن الناس ليسوا هم الغاية من حياتنا..بل الله..لأننا لن نجد راحة سوي في شخص الله
الصمت طريق آمن إلي الله
Kathleen Kurlin
Apr 01, 2013 Kathleen Kurlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book promises (from the book jacket) "Within this one small book lies the most relevant and inspiring challenge that we shall ever face: to surrender the compulsive noise of the world for the way of the heart that leads us to God." This book delivered on what was written in the book jacket! I read this book very quickly and found myself wanting to withdraw from my daily life to a secluded spot somewhere so I could truly seek God with the hopes of hearing His words for me and my life. I woul ...more
Sep 04, 2015 Jkanz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Flee, be silent, pray always, for these are the sources of sinlessness.-Abba Arsenius

The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers (1981) by Henri Nouwen is a short book with deep impact. At just 96 short pages, Nouwen provides much to think about. In essence, Nouwen examined the importance of solitude, silence, and prayer through the lenses of the desert fathers, Christians who lived in the Egyptian desert during the 4th and 5th centuries.

Flee--In the first section,
Angel Roman
Feb 06, 2013 Angel Roman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted in angelroman

I was dubious about reading this book, mainly because I did an online research about Nouwen’s life and finally found out that even though he respected his celibacy until his death he was struggling with homosexuality. Yet, I know He is respected among christians as a great teacher about spirituality and it’s not my intention to diminish his teaching or his life purpose.

With that being said, The Way of the Heart is about the story of the desert fathers (you can read
Aug 11, 2008 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Once again, a little 95 page book from Henri Nouwen finds a way to powerfully penetrate my heart and requires months of soaking, processing, and re-reading to reach the end. This little quirk of Nouwen's, by the way, is not at all a bad thing. In fact, it is the mark for me of a truly amazing, insightful book.

Compiled from a lecture series Nouwen taught regarding the Desert Mothers and Fathers, _The Way of the Heart_ describes in detail three qualities often lacking in modern Christian spiritua
Cory Jones
Mar 22, 2016 Cory Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. It's an easy read, but best to digest it slowly. I'll keep this one on my desk (and not the shelf) as I'm sure I'll return to it over and over. Anyone wanting a fuller experience in solitude, silence, and prayer should read this.
Amanda Tranmer
Aug 02, 2015 Amanda Tranmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How fitting that a book about "desert spirituality" is both short and incredibly profound. That is the point. When words shared come out of the silence, solitude and unceasing prayer of a heart at one with the kingdom of God, few words are needed to be revelatory and profound. Lots of meaty truth. Simple and applicable.

Out of the epilogue: "Our compulsive, wordy, and mind-oriented world has a firm grip on us, and we need a very strong and persistent discipline not to be squeezed to death by it.
Rick Lee James
Aug 23, 2016 Rick Lee James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"When I visited mother Teresa of Calcutta a few years ago and asked her how to live out my vocation as a priest, she simply said: "Spend one hour a day in adoration of your Lord and never do anything you know is wrong, and you will be all right... like great disciples of Jesus, mother Teresa affirmed again the truth the ministry can be fruitful only if it grows out of a direct and intimate encounter with our Lord."

-Henri Nouwen (The Way of the Heart)

This book is a short but wonderful read. Some
I began this book because I thought it would be awesome to join a book club at a local independent book store, and I already knew the author's style of writing as colloquial and insightful. The book club chose this book, and I was excited to read and discuss it!

I ended up not doing the book club, but I LOVED the book. I read it twice in a row! The second time I spent time journaling through it as well. It was worth pondering on very slowly.

Nouwen promises to help unpack some of the wisdom of the
Frank Terry
This was a good book. I've always had an interest in Desert Spirituality, and even though this was more about finding spiritual authenticity in our contemporary world, it was still a really interesting brief introduction to early Egyptian Christianity.

The biggest thing I took away from this book was our need for authenticity. Henri often discusses the need for silence and discipline and our need for solitude. He writes how easy it can be to talk and talk and talk and not really say anything. Th
Apr 04, 2016 Nicki rated it it was ok
Recommended to Nicki by: Wendy
Re-read this one and I didn't get much out of it at all.

This is one of those books that has come along at the right time for me. Its very short but has so much depth that it definitely needs to be meditated on. I'm going to read it again and again.
Porter Sprigg
Jun 16, 2016 Porter Sprigg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought-provoking and simple reflections on the value of solitude, silence, and prayer. I especially enjoyed the section on prayer and how it will change our hearts by allowing us to share in God's heart for humanity.
Dec 30, 2008 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More and more I'm thankful for the small books, simple but profound ones--those that are just long enough to get you off the couch and motivated to do the work that needs doing, reaching the heart. This is one of those books.
Nicholas Quient
A quick and insightful little read, but its brevity is a bit of a drawback - especially since the Desert Fathers and Mothers are invoked but not full explored.
John Burge
I read Henri Nouwen's The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers many years ago, and on a whim I decided to pick it up again. I hadn’t read any works of Christian mysticism or spirituality in a while, and so I pulled out a stack of books including Nouwen, Tozer, Augustine, and a Celtic Daily Prayer devotional. I started on Nouwen, figuring that I could get through it quickly, even if I didn't like it. As it turns out, I liked it a lot – much more than I remember. It ...more
Great reflection on what it means to "pray without ceasing." Portrays prayer - and God's work in response - as ongoing as I learn to turn my heart towards God.
Feb 23, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice easy to read devotional. It could easily be read in one sitting, but I'd recommend reading it in three sittings, focusing on solitude, silence and prayer. Although he appears to have written this for those who are in the clergy or professional ministry, what he says could be applied to the lives of all believers... A quote:

"Prayer as understood by the hesychasts hels us to discern which of our ministerial activities are indeed for the glory of God and which are primarily for the glory of
Sep 02, 2011 Joel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing journey into my own heart as I read this. Worth keeping around for a reread any time.
I read this book for a Catholic book club and, while I learned a lot from the book club, I have mixed feelings on the actual book. I thought that the first two chapters - Solitude and Silence - were overly simplistic and trite, and annoyed me more than helped me. The last chapter; however, on Prayer, was excellent and really provided thoughtful insights into the experience of prayer. This book was worth reading for the last chapter, alone. So if you start reading this, and get frustrated, skip t ...more
Dec 28, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book you'll want to read slowly and take time to reflect on how you can cultivate the spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence, and prayer to be a way of life.

I love that the explanation for solitude here is "not a private therapeutic place" but "Rather, it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where emergence of the new man and the new woman occurs." That it is in solitude that we don't "catch a break from the world" but that we m
Tim Baumgartner
When I teach the history of Christianity, we talk about how Constantine's declaration of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. This changed SO much because Christians basically stopped being persecuted. This new-found freedom caused a lot of Christians to become lax and not 'make the most of the time' (Ephesians 5:15-16). In order to prevent following the ways of the culture, some Christians chose to abandon the big cities and head for places that were more conducive to focusing on G ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Martyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short book looking at the ideas of solitude, silence, and prayer, inspired by the Desert Fathers. These fellows went off into the shifting sands to live removed lives that focussed on God, and Nouwen uses their teachings to bring these ideals to everyday life. He does focus most of the book on how those in ministry can use the practices, but for a layman such as myself there is still much here to ponder and hopefully incorporate into my prayer life.

Definitely worth the short time it takes to
David Gorgone
Henri has always been a go to writer during dry spiritual times. while I would recommend it as worthwhile with the warning you take it with a grain of salt. The practices of silence, solitude and prayer are very necessary in days like this where we are bombarded with noise and interaction any Christian's life can benefit from this. There are two problems. The first is his expectations are way too high. Daily life does not allow us to retreat for extended periods of timea. In the case of the dese ...more
Benjamin Vineyard
Nov 12, 2015 Benjamin Vineyard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen (Book Reaction)

Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry

The Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity have always intrigued me. Their book of sayings is filled with a consoling yet perplexing spiritual guidance - words I've never read a parallel to. Yet, those words from the desert are laden with meaning, especially today.

The Desert Fathers and Mothers were prayerfully led to the desert right after the empiric absorption of Christianity into Rome (
Roan Steward
Dec 24, 2012 Roan Steward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henri Nouwen's "The Way of the Heart" is a mystic's diagnosis and prescription for an over-busied modernity. Though the application is universal, it seems that one of his primary targets are the clergy, whose m.o. has become too much like that of their secular counterparts in the business world.

The book, like much of Nouwen's work, could easily be said to be a collection of short essays collected into a book (albeit a short 75 pages). It is unified by its deference to the Desert Fathers, the ear
Apr 15, 2013 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solitude, silence and prayer.

I purchased this book having spent a number of months seeking to do more of all 3. For too long I've thought communing with God was a reflection of how many experiences I have of Him, whatever form they may take. However, I no longer seek the experiences OF Him rather to experience Him.

Nouwen's reflections of the "Desert Fathers" ( who lived in the Egyptian desert during the 4th and 5th centuries) lifestyle are a wonderful summary of how we can experience more of Him
Once there was a culture so malicious, yet banal that Christians felt they were drowning. The culture embraced them, persecution ended, but the violence of propaganda and the pagan way of life constantly assailed them. Many were sinking deeper and deeper into this poison culture. The spirit of the age was seductive and constant with its promises of happiness and material success. The constant refrain could be summed up as: "Keep your spirituality, that is something you enjoy ... just join us in ...more
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Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen (Nouen), (1932–1996) was a Dutch-born Catholic priest and writer who authored 40 books on the spiritual life.

Nouwen's books are widely read today by Protestants and Catholics alike. The Wounded Healer, In the Name of Jesus, Clowning in Rome, The Life of the Beloved, and The Way of the Heart are just a few of the more widely recognized titles. After nearly two decades of
More about Henri J.M. Nouwen...

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“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with Him and Him alone. Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature. Solitude is a place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world.” 44 likes
“It is this nothingness (in solitude) that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something. The task is to persevere in my solitude, to stay in my cell until all my seductive visitors get tired of pounding on my door and leave me alone. The wisdom of the desert is that the confrontation with our own frightening nothingness forces us to surrender ourselves totally and unconditionally to the Lord Jesus Christ.” 30 likes
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