Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer” as Want to Read:
When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  203 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Do you long for depth and authenticity in your relationship with God? Do you want purpose and daily direction but can't seem to find the "right" prayer to receive it? "If prayer has stopped 'working' for you or if you want to know the reality of God, I invite you now to explore contemplative prayer and the lifestyle that allows you to experience God's presence," says Jan J ...more
Paperback, 189 pages
Published October 15th 1999 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published October 1st 1999)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When the Soul Listens, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When the Soul Listens

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  203 ratings  ·  30 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of When the Soul Listens: Finding Rest and Direction in Contemplative Prayer
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This is an excellent, practical and helpful resource for learning about contemplation and meditation. Jan Johnson is grounded in the Bible although Biblical references do not become overwhelming. She quotes many great authors from the past so the endnotes can lead one to more books to read. She quotes Dallas Willard often. He was such a deep man. He wrote a book, Hearing God, that I read but it was denser, harder to get through. Johnson's book has the depth but not the density, if that makes sen ...more
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-the-spirit
I find it very offputting when hardly a sentence is written without a Bible verse justification in parentheses accompanying it. It is visually problematic because you are seeing a page full of parentheses. It comes off as if the author has to justify every single idea she has as being Bibliically based; when someone reads a Christian book, it is kind of assumed that the author has a Biblical background. Just simply overkill. Certainly not a 'restful' read. ...more
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook. Excellent!


(As I prayed for results that would make ME feel more comfortable...) "wanting comfortable results, I realized, was actually codependency. I was focusing on myself and how it was God's job, and my daughter's, to make ME feel better. Most Get-the-Job-Done prayers are, in fact, about the self. What if I let this be about her. What if God was using her less-than-wise choices to help her grow?...Jesus didn't pray that Peter WOULDN'T deny Him, Jesus prayed only that Peter'
Adam Shields
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: A good evangelical introduction to Contemplative Prayer. There is lots of good wisdom about prayer here. I listened to this on audiobook but I want to pick up the print edition eventually because there are a number of good one liners about prayer.

Evangelicals tend toward utilitarianism in many of our religious practices and prayer is no different. Much of my training and teaching in prayer has been in intercession (doing something). Contemplative Prayer is essentially anti-utilitar
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
engaging with the Lord and the world in a deeper more satisfying spiritual way.

There are many books about contemplative prayer. I’ve read and reviewed a lot of them.

In this book the author takes what many make a complicated subject and lays it out in an easy to absorb and understand manner.

What contemplation is and how it relates to prayer is described with practical examples in an easy to follow and easy to apply way.

You will find yourself practicing contemplation straight away, you will find y
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-10, prayer
Easily makes into my top 5 ever read. I think I will listen to this book on repeat for the rest of my time on earth. Jan explains contemplative prayer in a conversational way I can understand and put into practice. Most of what she describes as contemplative prayer could really just be called "a biblical prayer life." She also presents specific historical monastic methods for learning to listen to God, such as Lectio Divinia (the slow, meditative practice of reading Scripture aloud, meditating, ...more
Beckie Hinze
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listening has never been my strong suit. This inspiring book teaches a bit about listening to God in practical ways! I read it over several months devotionally. The content was so rich that I needed to process it slowly. Jan Johnson is not one to be simply naval gazing. She ends the book with contemplation and activism and how we live in the tension of both. This book is now one of my top 3 that has helped me with real change.
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

I have just read this book but now I want to learn this book. I want to sit on my patio and read just a few highlighted sentences slowly one by one. I want to sip my coffee slowly and let just a few words crawl into my mind and sit in my spirit. I want to take my time and soak in the love and the wisdom.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was such an encouragement to me! I love anything on the “soul”, for I think it takes us so much deeper than we are often willing to go; to meditate and process words we read too quickly. Her writing made me pause, and her commentary on Luke 22:31-32 will stay with me forever. (And I liked it so much that I ordered Meeting God In Scripture and will begin that today).
Contemplative prayer is so outside of my natural tendencies that each small bit of this book challenged me deeply. I’m so glad that I own a copy and could savor it for almost two years. It already has a place in line for a re-read as I learn more about what God has for me in resting with Him.
Jan Johnson provides a very practical guide to contemplative prayer. But more than just a book on prayer, she explores the outworking of a contemplative prayer in our day-in and day-out lives. Loved it.
katherine mccray
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great overview of prayer. Love how practical she is. This is a hard you to put into words. She does it beautifully. Probably reread as this topic is always good to revisit.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Our culture doesn't generally place value on the patience that is associated with prayer and spirituality. When the Soul Listens provides guidelines for resting and inactivity as a path to growth. ...more
Lorri Villarreal
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-for-me
Beautiful, honest, and refreshing!
Greg Dillon
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Practical and Infused with Zoe

Jan writes an immensely practical exploration of how (and why) to live a life of attentive partnership with God. Extremely life-giving!
Michelle M
Oct 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It changed a lot of things I thought about prayer that I realize now were wrong and were actually holding me back.
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very thoughtful book on contemplative prayer. Packed with scripture references throughout.
Paul Dubuc
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book on contemplative prayer I've read. It's hard to imagine a better one to recommend to other Christians. It offers a clear, biblical justification for the listening, transformative kind of prayer that ought to be at the heart of every Christian's relationship with God. It's a very encouraging book, but it doesn't make exaggerated claims. It carefully distinguishes a Christ centered form of prayer from other similar forms of meditation and contemplation practiced in other reli ...more
Sanejo Leonard
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book by Dr. Jan Johnson reflects an engaging way to encounter God in prayer. Many books have been written over the years on prayer, but Dr. Johnson's insightful and intimate descriptions of prayer invite the reader into a deeper way of connecting with God. Dr. Johnson goes beyond "how to's" or even abstract theological concepts that often only serve to muddy the concept of prayer, and helps the reader to see interacting with God through prayer in a whole new way. If you read only one book o ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I grew up Southern Baptist. I'm not knocking that, I'm grateful. But at this stage in my life, I need something different and deeper. This book has been an invaluable resource for helping me know how to find God in a more contemplative way. The last thing I need is for my relationship with Christ to be MORE about the DOING and less about Him BEING in me. She is a wonderful writer and has partnered with Dallas Willard for a devotional. (see my list) ...more
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it
A very helpful book on deepening your prayer life into more of a genuine "counseling with the Lord" relationship. Written by a Christian author, it was helpful to me because it pulled me out of my typical LDS jargon and thoughts into a deeper thinking about prayer and relationship with God. I enjoyed it. ...more
Oct 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good book for me especially when I first started trying to learn how to listen to G-d and it's still a good book for me to go back and reread. ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
LOVED this. It came at the right time in my life while i was in Costa Rica just trying to escape everything. My soul found rest and I learned a whole new approach to prayer.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
contributes to my work on contemplation
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent primer on contemplative prayer. Approachable, accessible, & not too 'heady.' ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book about contemplative prayer...good for beginners and more mature Christians as well.
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a closer walk, this book will enrich you, and as stated on the back cover, I also intend to come back to it again and again.
Chris Everson
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book full of ways to grow in contemplative prayer. I’m looking forward to going through this book with my staff.
Kentnkim Nelson
I love Jan Johnson's books, easy to read and a great read for the soul... ...more
Patricia Bossle
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very readable but deep treatise on contemplative prayer.
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
  • Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ
  • Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ
  • Doodle Stitching Embroidery Art: Move Beyond the Pattern with Aimee Ray
  • Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life and Relationships
  • Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation
  • Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope
  • Stillness Is the Key
  • In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character
  • The Sacred Enneagram Workbook: Mapping Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are
  • The Christian Employee
  • Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
  • The Mountains Sing
  • Fierce, Free, and Full of Fire: The Guide to Being Glorious You
  • Live in Love: Growing Together Through Life's Changes
  • 1 Peter For You: Offering real joy on our journey through this world (God's Word For You)
  • Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ
See similar books…
Jan Johnson is an author (20 books), speaker, college prof and spiritual director. She lives in Simi Valley, CA.

Related Articles

  Speaking with Adam Grant feels like having your brain sandblasted, in a pleasant sort of way. As an author, professor, and psychologist,...
70 likes · 1 comments