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Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence
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Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  396 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Winner of a Christianity Today 2005 Book Award!To seek to fill a book with words about moving beyond words into solitude and silence is a daunting task; it is laughable really, if one sees the irony in it all. I have found myself . . . drawn to the task and yet somehow strangely resistant. On the one hand, I have been drawn to the task because my journey into solitude and ...more
Hardcover, 143 pages
Published January 9th 2004 by IVP Books
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Jan 22, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really good (and quick) read. Cuts to the heart of the matter regarding our busy and stressful lives, where we're always "on" and surrounded by noise 24/7. In order to be at our best, live in peace, and truly feel connected to God, we must learn how to master the practice of solitude and silence. This must be something that we strive to engage in regularly (i.e. DAILY) and sometimes even enter into prolonged periods of being unplugged from the world and simply just "be." The author's point is th ...more
Scott Jeffries
Jan 27, 2014 Scott Jeffries rated it really liked it
One disturbing trend I have found in my long study of Spiritual Formation and discipleship is how quickly these ideas can be reduced to a listing of spiritual disciplines or a discussion on spirituality that seems very foreign and inaccessible.

Then someone like Ruth Haley Barton comes along and Spiritual Formation moves away from what normally gets presented. In its place is a life with Jesus that seems absolutely necessary for a truly Christian life. The practice of solitude and silence may be
I actually wasn't able to finish it, which gives a clue to what I thought of it. I wouldn't say I disliked the book, but it wasn't especially enjoyable to read, and it was chock full of "not new information" for me.
I felt like I could have written the book, in a much more readable fashion... and collecting the royalties would be wonderful. :-)
John Compton
Feb 05, 2014 John Compton rated it really liked it
Ruth Haley Barton shares her experience with silence and solitude in such a way that it is an invitation to join her in this process. She nails our tendency to want quick fixes in life and that we need this practice to recognize the slow-work of God. She gives helpful practices at the end of each chapter that can help beginners, which I plan on referencing in the future.

Best quote, "There is an even greater truth: before you were even aware of your desire for God, God desired you. He created yo
Feb 21, 2016 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would love to be able to take "retreat days" -- I remember doing so when I lived and taught in SB and I was single. Life has a way of imposing responsibilities. Maybe this summer.

So true: "What deadens us most to God's presence within, I think, is the inner dialogue that we are engaged in within ourselves, the endless chatter of human thought. I suspect pect that there is nothing more crucial to true spiritual comfort than being able from time to time to stop that chatter, including the chatt
Dec 31, 2014 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemplation
Living in the twenty-first century, we struggle with solitude and silence. for they seem to be times of non-productivity. Both secular and religious subcultures tend to devalue times of being, as opposed to times of doing. God's invitation to solitude and silence is an invitation to enter into a deeper, more intimate relationship with our Lord. Each chapter of the book offers teachings, reflections and ideas of how to put solitude and silence into practice. Too often our lives are like a jar of ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Ian rated it it was amazing
I felt invited to adopt " Silence" as my word for 2013.

Funnily, enough as I looked around for some wise counsel on the subject, I was led to this beautiful work that has been sitting on my bookshelves for a few months. I can't recall why I bought it originally, however, now sense some divine purpose in it.

This is a delightful book to read. It is filled with some tremendous Biblical insight regarding Elijah's journey into the wilderness in 1 Kings 19. This revelation underpins the gentle flow of
Melissa AuClair
Jan 22, 2013 Melissa AuClair rated it it was amazing
I am reading through this book a second time- really good reflection. In today's busy and overstimulated culture, spending intentional time in quiet can be intimidating- but it also can be freeing. Ruth is a gentle teacher; she uses the life of Elijah to structure the book. Ruth is also very honest about her own life, her struggle with busyness, frustration being a Christian but not living up to her own desired standards and the difficulty of entering into silence and solitude.

Of course, we can
Brian Johnson
Mar 19, 2014 Brian Johnson rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book, which is not simply to be read, but is to be meditated on and practiced. This is a short book, but don't try to read it quickly. Instead, absorb the Barton's teachings on solitude and silence, and practice the exercises at the end of each chapter. This is a book to be lived. I really believe that looking back, I will be able to say this was one of the most influential books on my life.
Apr 25, 2015 J.L.Web rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Real and calm

Ruth Haley Barton's book was real, honest and challenging. I appreciate her weaving snippets of her own journey and fears into the narrative of these practices.

The book itself and her writing style also, tended to slow my breathing and make me feel a sense of calm just by reading along. I really enjoyed the book and the practices it has prompted in my life.
Oct 11, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing
The author tells of her journey into practicing times of silence. At the end of each chapter she has a practice you can do to slowly incorporate this discipline into your life.

When I first started this book, I thought is it sounded a bit hokey and New Age-y, but when I read what it really was and tried it out, I loved it. I practice times of silence now in my life.
Christine Lee
Mar 07, 2016 Christine Lee rated it it was amazing
This is my second time reading this book. I so needed it right now b/c my life is so full of noise. She takes 1 Kings 19, one of my favorite stories, and draws out insights about solitude and silence that are incredibly convicting. I also appreciate how each chapter ends w/ some kind of practical application, a way to pray or reflect. Highly recommended!
Jun 29, 2013 Taija rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is too tired or too busy to enjoy life in its abundance
Shelves: christian-study
...STILL haven't finished because I lent it to my sister...

As I'm reading through this book, the theme that continually resurfaces in my mind is the importance of noticing. The author uses the analogy of a jar of river water, all shaken up with its sediment swirling around. I am that jar most of the time; I forget to be still and NOTICE. To wait until everything settles into place and the water is clear so that I can notice what God is doing, how I'm feeling, what life is truly about. I'm also l
Merv Budd
Nov 29, 2013 Merv Budd rated it really liked it
Invitations to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton invites us to follow the spiritual pilgrimage of the Prophet Elijah. It provides practical and helpful insights in learning to be still in God’s presence. I used it as my morning devotional reading and found that it created in me a greater thirst for being still in the presence of God. Each chapter ends with a practice with which to engage in order to ground the teaching in activity and not just academia.

For those of you who struggle to be
Charles  Eduardos
My Soul Waits In Silence

From the moment I began reading my spirit and soul began to resonate with what Ruth has so honestly and lovingly shared with us. I am over flowing with gratitude.

Pr. Charles Eduardos
Aug 19, 2014 Shar'on rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy C
May 30, 2010 Wendy C rated it it was amazing
First, in this fast paced society so bent on production, this book runs counter....I have learned to slow down, take time to intentionally put times of silence/solitude in my day to day, week to week, month to month. THIS IS GRACE FILLED and invites you to come to be with Yourself and with God....much needed connections to be made and many people do not make them. The book leaves you craving deeper intimacy with Jesus. I bought Sacred Rhythmns b/c this one was so good and the write is so very op ...more
May 01, 2007 Daniel rated it really liked it
I stumbled across this book at Christian Fellowship meeting book table when I was in a period of trying to grow in my devotional life.

Ruth Haley Barton is a masterful storyteller and encourager as she challenges you to stop and listen for the presence and voice of God. Every chapter has elements of teaching and practicals so she walks you step by step as you venture into disciplines of silence and solitude.

For anyone who wants to grow in spiritual discipline and is intrigued by ideas of stoppi
Michael Austin
May 12, 2014 Michael Austin rated it it was amazing
This book is illuminating, insightful, and intensely practical. In just a few months' time of incorporating solitude and silence into my life, guided by working through this book, I've seen a positive change in terms of guilt and spirituality that I have needed for years. For that alone, this book deserves 5 stars from me. The writing is clear, interesting, and wise. It goes on my short list of favorite books about spiritual formation.
Shorel Kleinert
Feb 20, 2015 Shorel Kleinert rated it liked it
A little esoteric. Perhaps even fluffy. Thankfully not mystical. "solitude and silence are not, in the end, about success and failure. They are about showing up and letting God do the rest. They are not an end in themselves; they are merely a means through which we regularly make ourselves available to God for the intimacy of relationship and for the work of transformation that only God can accomplish."
Sep 12, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing
I am certain that I will return to this book often over the next several years. Highly recommend to anyone who is feeling the call of solitude and silence, or simply wants to more intimately know God and rest in His presence.
Refreshing, challenging, and so encouraging- Ruth Haley Barton echoed the cry of my heart in this season- more of you Jesus, deeper still- abiding in the vine.
This is basically a how-to guide on incorporating the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence into your life.

Although the author makes me somewhat uncomfortable (see my review of "The Truths that Free Us", I think I will give this another try.

Ummm. Well. I made it through a couple of chapters before I became ill and had enough solitude and silence for a good long time...
Nov 28, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it
I gave this book four stars, but will probably increase that on a second, more careful reading. While this book would be of greAt use to people at all stages and ages, it would be a real lifeline to people with small children who are struggling to keep too many balls in the air. I found myself wishing a number of times that I had read this when I was a young mother.
Meredith Onion
Aug 18, 2013 Meredith Onion rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book came into my
life at the perfect time. Ruth's combination of honesty about her own journey, the wisdom she clearly accumulated along the way and her very helpful and practical "practices" was a perfect combination. I have returned to ministry after a sabbatical feeling refreshed and renewed thanks to this book and thanks be to God!
Nov 25, 2013 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book as a practical way to begin the practice of "being still" which is very hard for me. Each chapter has great insights which really resonated with me and an exercise at the end which helped me to focus. I still have a long way to go, but this book has helped me to just sit, reflect, and listen.
Nov 20, 2013 Tammy rated it it was amazing
This helped begin my journey of becoming a recovering perfectionist. Reading this during my sophomore year of college helped me start to re-evaluate how I was spending my time and exerting my energy, to be able to identify God's voice among the chaos. It felt as though she was speaking to me personally!
Bailey Urban
May 15, 2014 Bailey Urban rated it really liked it
This book opened my eyes to the clearly lacking piece of my spiritual life - solitude. I enjoyed reading this book and know it is going to take more than one book like this in order to teach and discipline me how to be in solitude.
Mary Jane Johnson
Dec 03, 2013 Mary Jane Johnson rated it it was amazing
This book taught me the importance of quiet time with God. It is truly the only way we are intimate with the God who created us. I can now spend quiet time alone and not be alone at all. Quiet time means no phones, TV or computes that is the process of being free of this world.
Nov 25, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by:
Read this originally in June 2010, during a much needed sabbatical.

Ruth Barton's story inspires to get back into spiritual health and balance. My need for solitude and silence coincided with this book and refreshed and renewed my prayer life.

Mar 26, 2007 Angela rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Busy people
Shelves: christian
We thrive on busyness, but that also makes it easy for us to forget to nurture the deepest parts of our soul. This book brings us back to a place of silence, and teaches us to take care of our spirit along with everything else.
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Ruth Haley Barton is a writer, spiritual director, and retreat leader. She is co-founder of The Transforming Center, a community of Christian men and women who shape and care for the souls of leaders. She has served on the staff at several different churches, including Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, where she co-authored a spiritual formation curriculum enti
More about Ruth Haley Barton...

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“Psalm 46: 10 tells us there is a kind of knowing that comes in silence and not in words-but first we must be still.
The Hebrew word translated "Be still" literally means "Let go of your grip.”
“We are starved for quiet, to hear the sound of sheer silence that is the presence of God himself.” 1 likes
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