David: The Illustrated Novel by Michael Hicks Thompson

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Practicing Faithfulness

David illusrtated by Martheus WadeDavid said, "The Lord, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine." So Saul said to David, "Go, and may the Lord be with you!" Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. David strapped Saul's sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them." So David removed them. 
—1 Samuel 17: 37-39

There is a lot to be said for familiarity. Particularly when we’re faced with situations that challenge our courage, our strength and our mettle, it’s best to know what we can rely on and what’s helped us in the past.

David has developed a habit of faithfulness. He has turned to heaven for strength before, when threatened by lions and bears that stalked his sheep. Because he has practiced reliance on God, David knows God will see him through times of stress and danger. He alone among the Israelites on the battlefield names his allegiance to the Lord, the Living God.

We too can develop practices that can undergird our faithfulness. Through prayer, meditation, study and worship we can awaken our soul to God’s promise and learn to trust more and more that it will be fulfilled. From that trust comes courage. Like David, we can shed the weapons of others' devising, equipped instead with practices that strengthen our faith and prepare us for our own special service.  

We live in a world where we mistake riches for sustenance, a new purse (you fill in the blank) for food, power over others for our own empowerment. It is often harder to do good than to do evil. We need all the help we can get. A practice, I think, is a way to keep a door open to the holy. And while I have backslid on about every other practice I have attempted—daily prayer, meditation, Sabbath—I regularly keep Communion.

Nora Gallagher
excerpted from The Sacred Meal by Nora Gallagher


Believing takes practice. — Madeleine L'Engle

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.   — Søren Kierkegaard

One way that we stay connected to the Divine is through prayer. Scientific evidence shows that contemplative prayer and meditation are physically and medically beneficial. The spiritual benefits, though not as quantifiably measurable, are, nonetheless, profound. Those who regularly practice meditation, who intentionally place themselves in the Divine Presence, find their capacity for spiritual evolution exponentially increased. Just by sitting with the Holy One, the spiritual issues that hold the soul back from growth begin to be resolved.

Renée Miller
excerpted from Thomas Keating:  Spiritual Evolution


O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8


Prayer is not asking for what you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can't imagine.   — Kathleen Norris

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. — Romans 12:12

For me, the practice of Christian contemplative prayer has been the most satisfying individual discipline I've experienced. Sadly, many people who have grown up in the Christian Church don't even realize that we have contemplative traditions. Maybe that is why so many Westerners have been attracted to the spiritual practices of the East. I think contemplative prayer is a meeting place between East and West and an instrument of healing among the various religions.

Lowell Grisham
excerpted from Centering Prayer

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.          

 — Mahatma Gandhi

I quickly discovered that silence bestows many gifts. A practice of silence can diminish anxiety, for example. Our neurological system is designed to respond to danger; noise—especially loud, startling, or repetitious noise—drives up the adrenalin level in preparation for either doing battle or taking flight. In a world that bombards us with sound, we often feel jumpy, the effect of endocrinal responses to perceived danger.  

But we cannot concentrate on other things when adrenalin is surging through our systems; we cannot focus on prayer, for example, when we’re all wound up. Thus, the ancient wisdom that says silence is golden.  In silence, our outer senses can rest and our inner, spiritual senses—the ears and eyes of our soul, so sensitive and discerning—can shyly come forward. We begin to see and hear what is usually invisible and inaudible to us.

Paula Huston
excerpted from Silence

Imagine the spiritual life as a huge house surrounded by light. Opening the "windows" of the spiritual disciplines will let in the Light of God. We don't have to open all the windows at once; we can choose those practices that seem natural to us, that "call" to us. All let the light in.

Linda Douty
excerpted from Opening Yourself to the Guidance of God

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.  —Philippians 4:9 


I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time—waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God—it changes me."

C.S. Lewis