About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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    • {{Thanks for commenting, Bridget, but I’m afraid you meant to reply to Amber’s post today. The beautiful thing is GOD knows your heart, and maybe you’ll send some Bloom readers interceding for Ann and her family.}}

  1. Chapter 6 — Wow! There was a lot to digest here. I spent time researching Ignatius and St. Benedict…… lots of history to challenge my thinking.

    From chapter 6, the quote that stood out to me was on page 57: “None of us will keep up a life of prayer unless we are prepared to change. We will either give it up or turn it into a little system that maintains the form of godliness but denies the power of it–which is the same thing as giving it up.” Ouch!

    From Chapter 7, I was comforted by this quote: “We are forming the habit of obedience, and all habits begin with plenty of slips and falls and false starts. We did not learn to walk overnight.”

    Did I mention that I love this book? It is rockin’ my world. 🙂

    • Lyli, I can TELL you’re enjoying it because of how you’re responding :). And it’s like the thoughts you share minister to me in ways anew. I love that :). Thank you for being such a vocal supporter of this study; for challenging, always. I’m grateful!

    • Lily,

      I love your quote from Ch. 6. Ouch is right! I find that I even though I start with good intentions, I usually fall into the mold of turning whatever I’m doing into a “system”. Take this book study for example. When life gets busy, I find that I hurry through some of the reading just to keep up with the schedule and check that “to do” off my list of spiritual practices for the day. If I’m not sincere about my reading, I might as well not even read at all. That’s exactly what Foster is saying here. Such a great reminder. Thanks for sharing!

      • Lynsie,
        Oh my, I create systems also! Granted, I was comforted by the “structure” of chapter 7 in regards to creating a system, so to speak, in our covenant with God. Especially in the section about the covenant of heart preparation, Foster perhaps encourages following something set in order (prayers, psalms) to stay consistent. I liked this, but the danger lies in that same quote Lyli posted. It can look like godliness but where’s the power? Ouch, indeed.

  2. Robin, I’ve been living under a rock. I didn’t know y’all were reading Richard Foster’s PRAYER! Oh, my word, isn’t it a wonderful book? Such riches of wisdom.

    Richard is a friend of mine. I serve on the Ministry Team and Board of Renovaré, the ministry Richard founded 25 years ago. I’ve heard him tell the story of how he came to write this book many, many times, and it never, ever gets old. 🙂

    • RICHELLA!! He’s a friend? Oh, my…I love how the blog world can be so small at times! Wow…just w o w. Thank you for popping in NOW; it’s HARD to keep up with all the wonderful things available to us content-wise, so really, there’s nothing but grace from me to you.

      This book is truly challenging me; I’ll leave it a different pray-er :).

  3. Oh my, these 2 chapters!! And RoseAnne’s insight has really touched me!
    My favorite quote from Ch. 7, page 70:

    “And He will never give the desire to do something that He will not also give the power to obey.”

    Wow…that is sooo thought provoking to me! This one sentence made me stop in my tracks to just reflect on how awesome God is & how necessary it is for me to stop & LISTEN to Him instead of running on my own empty tank of fumes!

    This entire chapter made me realize how “thick-headed” I have been in a certain area that I am trying to change. I realized that I have been praying the wrong prayer…I’ve been looking for that “magic” to instantly change me. Not gonna happen…I have to do some work first !! 😉

    Powerful, powerful stuff. I will miss RoseAnne but will absolutely check out her site! What a gift to have her on the first portion of this study!

    • Patricia, love what you shared here. Isn’t it great when God nudges us this way through what we are reading?

      I agree with you that RoseAnne has been a great mentor to all of us as we walk through the book. She will be missed!

    • Patricia,

      {{nodding}} Um-hmm, that one got to me, too. It was a strong encouragement to pursue God, because I realize He’s the one drawing me anyway (does that make sense?).

      I was surprised when I realized RoseAnne has a bona fide site/ministry…but then, why should I have been? She’s fantastic at what she does!!

    • Patricia,
      God IS pretty awesome and I thought you were going to write “how necessary it is for me to stop & LISTEN to Him instead of running [my mouth]…” I inserted that version because that is me! What RoseAnne said about God within the context of covenant made me go, “what am I complaining about? He’s doing all the work!” Really, He fulfills His part, He gives the desire, He gives me the empowerment and provision to carry out my part… What’s the problem again? Belief. Like RoseAnne said, “I shortchange myself when I don’t believe God”

  4. To be completely honest, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to participate in this book study. I sent out an email to just about all the women in my contact list telling them to join, but I really wasn’t excited about it myself. Boy, am I glad God kept pushing me to just order the book already! Here we are a third of the way through the book and God has begun to change my heart so much already.

    My favorite quote from Ch. 6 is “The less we are mesmerized by human voices, the more we are able to hear the Divine Voice. The less we are manipulated by the expectations of others, the more we are open to the expectations of God.” (p. 63).

    I struggle so much with comparing myself to others and listening to what others say I should be doing that I leave no room to hear what the most important One has to say. Motherhood is a lot harder than I expected it to be. Being responsible for another human being is a huge task. In this wonderful world of technology, the answer to any question imaginable is at our finger tips. So what’s the first thing I do when I have a major “Oh no, what do I do in this situation” moment…? I google it, of course. I read all the articles about that topic. And as if that isn’t enough information, I then call my mom, cousins, and friends who’ve been through this stage before to see what advice they have to offer. Now, I’m not saying that reading articles to educate yourself or getting advice from family and friends is bad, but what I have realized is that when it comes down to it, the advice we seek should first come from God. And that’s where I fail repeatedly. It seems I try all other stops before coming to God and asking for His guidance. So after reading Ch. 6, I have vowed to quiet out the worldly noise and focus on what God has to say to me.

    Now on the Ch. 7’s quote: “He will never give the desire to do something that he will not also give the power to obey” (p. 70).

    This was so encouraging to me. It reminded me that I don’t have to walk this road alone. Whatever it is that God is calling me to do, I don’t have to rely on my own ability to complete the task. What a relief! Continuing with the motherhood theme (if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been having a hard time with this area of my life:)), here lately I’ve been a little down on myself for not being the best mom possible. I put so much pressure on myself to do this, this, and this so that my daughter will be grow up to be that. I get so caught up in all the things I “have” to do that I’ve lost focus on the main goal: to show my daughter God’s love. Isn’t that what we are called to do as moms? It sounds so simple, right? This quote from Ch. 7 has shown me that I need to relinquish control and realize that on my own I can’t be the best mom for my little girl. I must ask God for the power to obey His calling.

    • Lynsie,

      First…{{HUGS}}. Motherhood is NOT easy and God gave you family and friends to be his hands and feet sometimes; yes, he wants you to seek him in all of life, but please realize he created this beautiful structure of family and community so we wouldn’t have to go it alone in this life.

      I am SO thankful you ended up in study with us! Your insight is challenging to me and your testimony is evidence of God at work! That, my friend, is inspiring :).

      • Lyndsie,

        Me too, me too as far as studying, asking others, reading etc. busyness. The other morning as I awakened, I saw a picture of me with my head detached and many heads of mine here there and everywhere. Just seemed to speak to my heart that I needed to let some of the stuff go. To focus on him and not all the blogs and activities and stuff. (Just a few). So I made of list of everything I’m involved in and put the timelines and let a few go even though they were cool and I’m trying to slow down the train.

    • Lynsie,
      The quote you chose from chapter 6 was also one I bookmarked. Especially as a parent, we have an added incessant voice that demands so much from us. As much as motherhood is rewarding, with everything else in life it’s easy to feel pulled in a million directions. I, like you, also rely on everything I can get my hands on when an issue/struggle arises. I’m quick to call my mother, do my own research and so on, and one day God said, “you know Paula, by the time you bring it to me you’ve already got it figured out, or so you think, so why bother at that point.” You can’t believe how that small phrase has quieted my mind and fingers from then on when I need to figure something out/make important decisions.

      I wanted to share a quote that I read through an article here on (in)courage and it has blessed me so much. I have asked God to help me keep this at the forefront of my mind as I go through my day. It’s an important kind of covenant. I hope it encourages you in your role as a mother. The quote is by Sally Clarkson who co-wrote the book Desperate with Sarah Mae.

      “Once I decided that my children were God’s best will for my life, I saw all of my life through this grid. So when I went through my day, in general, if an interruption came into my life, since my “grid” said, “My children are my decided and valued priority,” then I could say yes to my children and put the other non-essential things aside because it did not fit with my priorities. The other tasks and goals in my life are secondary to the plans I have made to keep the Lord, my children and my husband first.”

  5. “The less we are mesmerized by human voices, the more we are able to hear the Divine Voice.” P. 68

    This section in Chapter 6, on The Communion of Solitude, really stood out to me. More than thinking of how this applies to my life, it made me think of my children growing up in a world FULL of “human voices” telling us all sorts of things that can distract us from God’s voice.

    For me, the world is distracting enough. Foster provides a good reminder of what’s truly important, and it’s not the size of my jeans or the car I drive or the size of my house. It’s easy to get caught up in the “rat race”, or to make unhealthy comparisons. It takes real effort to focus on a deep relationship with our Heavenly Father, but it’s so important for keeping us grounded in the truth!

    • Christina,

      There’s a common thread ringing through our comments; the clatter of the world; the comparison game. I think this study is challenging our group to seek first the Kingdom. S i g h…I wish it wasn’t so easy to do everything else FIRST!

      Intention is a goal; let’s challenge one another to be intentional to things eternal. 🙂

      • I’m in…I need that intentional time or I’m grouchy, tired, unorganized….. then I say oh, yeah, I need more of my God!

      • Christina and Robin,
        I loved when Foster said (in this same section), talking about the freedom and power in solitude, that this isn’t a power to recharge in order to win! But in order to not care! How awesome is this. Lord give me the power to NOT care!

  6. Just catching up today! I am enjoying this study very much.

    My favorite quote was ”We cannot do a single good act except God first gives us the desire for it and then empowers us to do it….he will never give the desire to do something that he will not also give the power to obey.” Obedience is all God ever wants from us. I love the fact that he is in charge of it all. Takes the pressure off. 😉 All I have to do is obey. Love it!!

    I also loved where he said “Oh, the liberty that is released in our hearts when we let go of the opinions of others! The less we are mesmerized by human voices, the more we are able to hear the divine voice. The less we are manipulated by the expectations of others, the more we are open to the expectations of God.” This is so true. I am coming to realize that I have been pushing down parts of myself because of how I think others perceive me. I am trying to stop listening to that and to be who God made me to be. Again, it is all about obedience. Obey the call he has put on my life and release it all to him to make it all happen in his perfect timing.

    • Rachelle,
      Be encouraged! I was listening to an interview today on my way in to work and the speaker was being asked why it is that we don’t love well and the way God has called each of US to love. He said something interesting in that it’s because we are afraid of looking silly (dumb) for loving a particular way. The only way we look silly is when we are trying to be a, frankly, pretty bad impression of someone else. When we are the US God created and put in us, then our love expression is sincere and never will it look dumb or otherwise. Obey the call on your life!

  7. I’m coming to this book study late, so I’ve only read chapters 4 and 6. I found out about it from Robin Dance’s reply to a post from her blog entry yesterday, Wonderfully YOU! A couple of readers mentioned how they cry in church, and Robin mentioned the Bloom book club and the topic of the Prayer of Tears. As I too often cry in church, in prayer, and reading His Word, I thought I would check it out. I liked what I read and saw, so I purchased the book.

    Now I’m a Nook reader, so I won’t have a page number for my favorite chapter 6 quote. It is in the Prayer of Docility section, right after the siting of Matthew 12:20. Here’s the quote, “He never steps on the weak, never snuffs out the smallest hope. Allow His hand to rest upon yours and guide you. Become weak, frail, and vulnerable. Now listen to the voice of the true Shepard and learn from Him.”

    I wish someone would have given me this quote when I was a newly born, baby Christian. At that time my view of God was the authoritative, jump down your throat if you don’t follow His commands, kind of God. I wasn’t familiar with His kindness, grace and compassion. And I was in a very weak, frail and vulnerable place, so it wasn’t fertile ground for a relationship to start.

    To top it off, the people discipling me were of the “fire and brimstone” camp. Sigh… Suffice to say I had a long, hard road to cover before I came to see Him for who He truly is. I thank Him often for the gentle nudging of His Spirit through that long and arduous journey!

    • Babs,
      How awesome to see you are enjoying this book. God had been pulling me to read this and I had refused for a while. When this study was announced, well… at that point, I had no choice. What beautiful choice of words – never step in the week, never stuff out the smallest hope. That’s exactly what a new Christian is. I wonder if God sometimes allows us to go through things like what you mentioned, so you can gently lead others during that sensitive time. People need to know God seeks unguarded accessibility, not to crush you but to guide you to higher ground. Thanks for sharing!

    • Babs,

      YOU’RE HERE! YOU’RE READING! And with the beauty of the book, videos and posts, you can really go through it on your own time.

      The important thing in all of this is your desire to know God more intimately, and to be shaped by Him. He IS authority and strength, but He’s love incarnate, too; so I’m thankful for where you are on your faith journey TODAY; looking to the future to grow you always into the woman he’s called you to be :).

  8. Both chapters were very thought-provoking for me. Lots to chew on. I really resonated with Cpt 7 on Covenant prayer.. I sense that God has been beckoning me for some time to commit, to covenant with Him over my prayer life. To seek solitude, to make a covenant of obedience, of time and place. I have floundered so much in this! I so appreciated the grace that Foster reminded us that God offers.. He knows our frailties and weakness, He knows our limitations. He knows the season of life we are in. I have a newborn and a 2 yr old and am so frustrated most days because I am learning a new routine and too sleep deprived to get up earlier than the kids. My day doesn’t feel like it’s started until I’ve had time with Him and then it’s happening with kids running around and interrupting constantly. I know it’s just a season, and to be gracious with myself and my precious kiddos, but it’s a daily battle. And in the midst of it I do still need a commitment to prayer, to His Word. I loved how Foster encouraged us to figure out a rhythm that works best for us and the place in life in which we are. I am asking the Lord for what HE would have me do, His expectation, instead of trying to make my own commitment in my own human wisdom.

    Anyway.. I’m being so challenged, and really, the Lord is stirring up a deep hunger in me for Himself and for a continual “tryst” with Him, a going deeper and growing closer. I really resonated with the statement about finding a place for prayer, that “we, too, need to be anchored somewhere” and one thing I am going to be meditating on, besides what kind of time commitment God would have from me on prayer daily/weekly, is what place can I be anchored to? Where can I carve out a little holy ground in my home and make it a sacred getaway, right here within these four walls? Long for that.

    “Obedience is really not as burdensome as it seems at first blush. We are doing nothing more than falling head over heels in love with the everlasting Lover of our souls.” (p.70)

    • I’m with you, Martha! Trying to figure out the best way to fit prayer and spending precious time with the Lord in my daily routine. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling with this! And what a relief to know that how I do it doesn’t have to look like everyone else.

    • Martha,

      The season with Littles underfoot is hard. Plain hard! The tendency for a young mother is to see all the things left undone, what she couldn’t get to, how she’s fallen short. And I’m here to tell you, a) this season WILL pass, b) all the little things you manage to do MATTER, and c) God IS grace-filled.

      I’m thankful for how you’re already being encouraged in this study, receiving liberty in your circumstances; if you have any desire to carve out a special place, to fall deeper in love with your King, it’s because he’s gifting you these desires. And it’s so lovely to hear. I’m glad you’re laboring with us!

  9. My favorite quote is:
    “Humility means to live as close to the truth as possible: the truth about ourselves, the truth about others and the truth about the world in which we live.”
    There is just so much non-truth out there. It’s about “seeing” what’s really there,rather than relying on feeling…feelings almost always lie.

    • Tori,

      I actually had first chosen that quote as my favorite; I LOVED it. But I thought it might not make as much sense on the image I used with this section, so I chose the other. I’ve never heard it put quite like that and it sang to me. 🙂

  10. I loved the quote, “In time, however, we find that solitude gives us power not to win the rat race but to ignore the rat race altogether.” Page 63. That’s it for me, I love to be involved in that and that and that too. It’s fun, and my passion runs deep but “Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life.” O.k. there it is for me. Help me Lord.

    Chapter 7 – So excited for Richard Foster to mention “The Diary of Private Prayer.” I happened upon this books years ago. It was written in 1949. It has become one of my favorite prayer guides. And I loved the prayer, “Help me to delight in your presence that I will want to come home to you often. ” That’s my prayer. Though I’ve been doing this for many years, sometimes I feel like I’ve just begun. Blessings to all of you. I love reading your comments.

    • Marilyn,

      To turn these things into prayer? Yes! They are the stuff of desire, true desire, GOOD desire…initiated by God. Beautiful.

      And isn’t it paradox that SOLITUDE empowers? Mercy, that was a helpful, NEW thought.

  11. I loved these two chapters, especially chapter 7. What a wealth of practical pointers and reminders of what it means to make this covenant with God. I think through formation prayer we are empowered to live out our covenant prayer. I love that both of these prayers require us to act, but in both instances the Holy Spirit is the one helping us along and through the struggles.

    I don’t even know on which part of chapter 7 to touch on because it was all so good to me, but I really felt the Lord talking to me about obedience. When Foster says “obedience has a way of strengthening rather than depleting our resources,” I felt relief. I sensed a stirring again because for the “many-eth” time God has been focusing most of these chapters toward my personal obedience, like Foster says, in my everyday life. My commitment will change me and I can enjoy the process? I loved this chapter.

    Chapter 6 is another one that I will need to look at more slowly because it has to do with transformation – another topic I’ve been asking God about for a while. Foster mentioned that we can have a “system that maintains the form of godliness but denies the power of it.” What a rip off! It’s exactly what the enemy wants and what will happen if I don’t pursue God wholeheartedly and yield to his working in my life. I think God is nudging me to examine what I truly say I believe in a couple of areas and in turn what that should mean to my life. “Formation is not perfection, it’s progress!” (I added the exclamation point)

    Quote(s):

    This time was hard.. so many good ones for me. Both of these are from Chapter 7.

    “The promises and commitments of your heart are not made in vain. God is working at the desire level of your formation. He has a way of bringing to pass the longings deep within- after all, he placed those longings there” (p.69). I truly believe this, but what a beautiful reminder. What a loving Father. Also…

    “God, you see, rushes to us at the first hint of our openness. He is the hound of heaven baying relentlessly upon our track. He places within us such an insatiable God hunger that absolutely nothing satisfies us except the genuine whole-wheat Bread of Life” (p.70). I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read this. I felt such joy at just reading this and asked God to put that hunger anew in me.

  12. Paula,

    ha! Yes…the thought of God as hound of heaven? I had to read that TWICE and I wondered “can he say that????” 🙂

    You demonstrate through your thoughts how paradoxical Kingdom life is (obedience strengthening rather than depleting).

    Reading your comments reminds me of why this section was sooo good; I put it down so long ago, it’s wonderful to see it again through your eyes.

    • Robin,
      Yes, what a picture! What I loved thought is how he rushes to us and in turn gives us an insatiable desire for Him. It’s all Him.
      Kingdom life as a paradox is correct. I have these conversations often with a particular friend who is not saved. Freedom through obedience? Life through death? What? I know her heart stirs at the thought. Something inside says yes, it’s possible. The Holy Spirit, however, has to give each of us a picture of what that looks like to hold on to when it doesn’t make sense.

    • The first time I heard “hound of heaven” was in Priscilla Shrier’s Jonah study. Beth Moore says it in her James study too I believe. It does sound funny! 🙂

  13. The importance of solitude cannot be overemphasized. It wasn’t until my world fell apart in 2002 that I desperately began seeking God in His Word and in Bible study. During this time I also came across Richard Foster’s Celebration of the Disciplines and learned what solitude meant. After shooting desperate prayers up to God day after day, and then going on with my life, I finally began to just sit before Him after pouring out my heart. Listening wasn’t easy at first, but God progressively tuned my heart and my ears to His frequency, and my soul’s restoration began. It’s not being alone just for the sake of being alone; it’s being alone in the presence of God with a willingness to be changed–transformed–so that you reflect the love and the glory of your Lord to a world that needs to know Him just as badly as you do.

  14. This is appropriately timed because I am encountering awesome prayer time with the Lord since starting this study. So all of this resonated with me!

    What I’ve realized is that I had been proclaiming to my husband that I cannot finish what I start. I never complete any project I take on. The Covenant Prayer on commitments hit me good. The “pledge to be diligent in” anything spoke to me because I’m in constant guilt over “these broken commitments”. But however, I know now that “the promises and commitments of my heart are not in vain.”

    I absolutely loved the illustration used in The Prayer of Docility! I don’t know, I just thought it was so precious and awesome 🙂

    And my favorite quote is by A. W. Tozer – “We pursue God because and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.” That’s just so intriguing!!!

  15. First of all, I think the biggest thing that I need to work on is solitude. I do take time to sneak away and hide in the bathroom or whatever but I don’t use that time like I could, or should, be. And really being alone is when you have time to stop and really be still. How much have I missed in those moments when I don’t use them properly?

    My favorite part though was in Chapter 7 in the Life-Giving Covenants section. Foster asks, “…where would we be if God had not committed himself…Where would we be if Jesus had refused…”. Really, that’s huge. It blew my mind to think in terms of those questions. Seriously, we wouldn’t be anywhere but hell because there’d be no way for us to pay for our sin. And really, if God had wiped out the Israelites like He told Moses He would do, we likely wouldn’t even exist. But because God kept His promise, and because Jesus did go to the cross, here we are.

  16. Time!!! I love how he said we have to make time… and I KNOW that, but I still haven’t made it a priority!
    Thank you for this study.

  17. So thankful today for reading all the comments-you ladies are helping me “digest” all the wonderful concepts in this study.The portion on the “covenant of time” really resonated with me.Until last fall,I haven’t been intentional with time spent with the LORD’s presence.Ann Voskamp,in her blog once wrote- “Word in,work out” and that truly helped me prioritize the covenant of time with God first thing in the morning.I love to run and for years,that has been my priority-to get my run no matter what! But thank GOD, in His grace and mercy,showed me a better way-to seek Him first and His kingdom.

  18. What I remember most from these chapters is the discussion about humility as a source of fertility. It takes humility for our heart with God to grow.

  19. I am LOVING this study and these recap posts/videos! This is the 2nd Bloom study I’ve done and once again I’m being so richly blessed! I was so moved by the words about covenant and how deeply our Father loves us in Ch 7 that I found myself weeping! As a woman going through a divorce I don’t want, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of abandonment and loneliness. But what a sweet Savior we have that “rushes to us at the first hint of our openness”, and “lures us back regularly into His presence with anticipation and delight”. And from Ch 6, I have personally experienced Saint Jerome’s reminder that we are “never less alone than when alone”. Thank you ladies for providing truth through this study. Blessings!!

  20. Ladies I am so glad this is online and though it’s past I’m enjoying it. I only found this today, don’t have the book but listening to the ladies have encouraged me. I’m is the valley and need this and so lifted by this discussion. This is a great website, thanks so much.