Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bernard of Clairvaux: Passionate Faith

One of my favorite figures in church history is Bernard of Clairvaux. He had such a desire to know Jesus more and passion to enter into deeper intimacy with the Lord. A key figure of the Middle Ages, Bernard helped to redirect the whole focus of the church, centering in on a personal relationship with Christ.

Here is the URL to my recent article on Bernard on

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choosing Light: A Morning Prayer

Photograph by Drew Collins

A number of years ago I began to write out morning prayers for my daily time with the Lord. These prayers emerged from the needs in my life and the things for which I was sporadically praying. Because God was working on these areas in my life, I realized that I ought to be giving them more intentionality. One way to do that was to pray them each morning as I began my day.

While some Christians have been taught to avoid written prayer, Scripture itself is replete with written prayers. The Bible records Moses’ prayers, the judges’ prayers and a host of David’s prayers. We read Jonah’s prayers and those of the prophets and kings of Israel. The New Testament provides several of Jesus’ prayers and quite a few of Paul’s for his fellow believers. Many hymns and worship choruses are simply prayers set to music. Written prayers are a vital part of our inheritance of the faith.

As the dark days of winter approach, one prayer that has been helpful to me is “Choosing Light.” If you struggle with discouragement or darkness of any kind, I pray that the words of this prayer come alive in your life.

Choosing Light

This morning, O Lord, I choose light, for you are a God of light and in you is no darkness. (1 John 1:5; James 1:17; 1 Tim 6:16)

As I meditate on your goodness and love for me, I embrace encouragement and I renounce the darkness of discouragement, for our God is the God of all encouragement. (2 Thess 2:16)

Trusting in you, I will choose hope and anchor my soul in hope, as I refuse the darkness of despair. (Heb 6:19)

Today I will run toward what I tend to avoid, and I reject the darkness of fear, for God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)

Fixing my eyes on you, O Lord, I will reach out toward family and friends—encouraging them and letting them know that they are valued and taken care of. I refuse the darkness of division and rejection, and instead I choose light, life and love.

All day long I will embrace challenges at work and home, and I renounce the darkness of defeat, for I have the victory in Jesus and in him I am more than a conqueror. (Rom 8:37)


-Glenn E. Myers

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Recommended Classic: Introduction to the Devout Life by Francis de Sales

A breath of fresh air, Francis de Sales’ classic, Introduction to the Devout Life, invites all believers to enter the deeper life in Christ. Not reserved for just a few spiritual people, the life of genuine devotion to Jesus is available to all believers.

Describing the inner life of faith, De Sales welcomes his readers to engage in a deeper walk with the Lord than they have known before. With profound insight, he exposes our self-focus and the spiritual games that we often play instead of allowing Christ to transform our thoughts, attitudes and actions. Appreciated by believers with a sincere desire to grow—evangelicals and Roman Catholics alike—this work is down to earth.

De Sales opens the book with several guided reflections on Scripture. It addresses the pragmatic issues of Christian growth including purity, patience, humility and anxiety, and it deals with the situations of everyday life, how they can be sanctified, and how we can be truly sanctified in the process.

With penetrating insight, de Sales challenges us to practice spiritual disciplines that we need most—not necessarily the ones we like the best. “In practicing any virtue, it is well to choose that which is most according to our duty,” he states, “rather than most according to our taste” (86). Fasting may come easily to some, but what they need to work on are gentleness and patience. Others may prefer solitude, but confessing sin is more valuable. Still others like small group sharing and activity, but their greatest need—and opportunity for most profound growth—comes as they cultivate solitude and their own personal walk with Jesus.

De Sales offers helpful tools for honestly examining our lives, our attitudes, our obedience and our spiritual formation. In the final section of the book he suggests ways to take a yearly retreat to review our growth and gain new focus for the coming year.

Introduction to the Devout Life is a practical manual on how to live the deeper life. It challenges us not to be satisfied with the status quo of our spiritual growth, yet encourages us to be gentle with ourselves and others during that maturation process. It breathes with creativity, wisdom and hope. Although not as well known as some other classics, this book is one of the true gems of Christian spiritual formation!

Francis de Sales. Introduction to the Devout Life. Vintage Spiritual Classics. New York: Random House, 2002. ISBN: 0-375-72562-8.

2010 © Glenn E. Myers