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Flee, Be Silent, Pray: An Anxious Evangelical Finds Peace with God through Contemplative Prayer Paperback – 28 May 2017
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When I received “Flee, Be Silent, Pray”, I found myself stressing to read it in its entirety as soon as possible, so I could write a comprehensive review right away. One page in, I realized that is exactly *not* what Ed would have me do. That is the kind of humble person he is. That is how you know he stands by what he sharing in this book. The entire premise is we have an invitation to experience God in a whole new way. (“New” actually meaning… drawing from the richness and depth of spiritual practices that have been practiced for many years but have recently been drowned out or forgotten by modern day Christianity). And yet Ed is gracious in all of this. Celebrating the gifts he has received from all seasons of his spiritual life. Offering to us his own life story and practices that have helped heal and shape him.
There is a beautiful, life giving invitation to commune with God and one need not run themselves into the ground in anxious pursuit of that. Ed shares “we need more than commands, teachings, and obligations to life fruitfully as Spirit-filled followers of Jesus. We need God’s transforming love…transformation and holiness proceed out of the peace and security of that love.”
At first glance, one might think this could become license to just “sit on our laurels” or not sacrifice with spiritual disciplines or service for God. But this book invites us to understand that when we are transformed by God’s love, those very fruits WILL flow from our lives. And it will happen naturally and healthfully.
As a friend of the Cyzewski family, I can personally attest to this. For three years my family had the gift of being in a spiritual community with their family. We watched firsthand how they embodied love and health in their faith, marriage, parenting, and friendships. They were some of the first people to invite my husband and I into this new way of experiencing God and we are so thankful for that short but formative time. My family has since moved to a small rural community. One where the unofficial slogan at our local church is “Work Hard, Play Hard, Study Hard.” You can imagine what a gift (life line!) this book is to remind me that there is a beautiful and sacred way to experience God and it doesn’t need to entail totally burning myself out, or sacrificing the health of my family in that process.
As a Christian counselor, I see the effects of burnout-whether spiritual or vocational all the time. I am so thankful for this resource to share with my clients. Already I can see the palpable sense of relief when I share with them that another way is possible. My small town (and this country for that matter) is so hungry for authentic ways to encounter God’s rest, love and transformation. I can’t help but think there is there is an exciting spiritual revolution happening, with books such as “Flee, Be Silent, Pray” at the forefront. Thank you, Ed, for sharing your stories and practices with us.
At first, when I encountered the words 'evangelical anxiety' in 'Flee, Be Silent, Pray', I thought the author was employing creative license; a bit of hyperbole for effect. However, the more he described the condition, I realized how spot-on he was.
His spiritual recovery came from a source he least expected, one, in his earlier years, he had set out to show as flawed: the Catholic Church. The 'antidote' to his evangelical anxiety was as ancient as the early Church itself: centering prayer. This spiritual discipline was developed by the early church fathers and mothers to help them remain focused and settled enough for 'effectual fervent prayer'.
Mr. Cyzewski's honest and humble account of his spiritual growth will, no doubt, resonate with not only evangelicals who will welcome the release from their theological work ethic but also to Catholics who may not know of the early disciplines that helped keep the church firmly grounded. 'Flee, Be Silent, Pray', is a much needed resource for a world of diminished attention spans and the unrealistic expectations of prosperity gospels. Mr. Cyzewski draws from the modern masters of centering prayer, helpful guides embedded within our own times - Rohr, Manning, Nouwen. Mr. Cyzewski closes his book with a list of the works he cited within the text and a list of recommended books for further study. Highly recommended.