I guess we need to get this out of the way right off the top–A Place of Quiet Rest is a book by women and targeted squarely at women (as if the cover art and font didn’t already tip you off!). It is written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and includes contributions from twelve other authors and speakers, all of whom are likewise women. Though I knew all of this going in, I read the book without any compulsion and for my own benefit. And it really did benefit me. Let me explain.
Because personal devotions are a daily (or near-daily) part of my life, I try to ensure that I am doing them well, that I am not simply going through the motions, but making my times with the Lord a real and vital part of my life. To help me in this, I regularly read books on Scripture, prayer or the spiritual disciplines. Most of the books I have read in recent years have been written by men. Well and good. However, a few weeks ago I stumbled across this book on Aileen’s shelf and began to read it. I’m glad I did.
A Place of Quiet Rest is meant to lead the reader toward finding intimacy with God through a daily devotional life. In a friendly and personal way, DeMoss shares many of the lessons she has learned as she has sought the Lord day-by-day and year-by-year. What she longs for, and what she longs for her readers to experience, is not merely knowledge of God–the facts of who God is and what he has done–but true relationship with him. This, more than anything else, is what makes her book different from so many others. It is not about the technique, but about the goal at the end of it all–a growing delight in God himself.
I believe the greatest strength of the book may be just how real it is, how imitable. This is not a theologian with postgraduate degrees in theology seeking advanced answers to advanced questions (though certainly there is a time and place for that), but a very real, very normal person who simply longs to know her Creator through the means he has given. DeMoss shares what she has learned as someone who is in process, not someone who has all the answers or who has figured it all out. Anyone can read this book and, at the end of it all, know “I can do that.” There is no great trick to it, no technique that requires special equipment or special knowledge. It is simply a matter of pursuing relationship with one who longs to relate to us.
As you would hope and expect, the heart of the book is a look at the disciplines of reading Scripture, prayer and meditation–taking truth and working it deep into the heart. DeMoss sometimes teaches by example, sharing how she has studied, understood and applied specific passages. Other times she quotes from some of the classics of the genre, displaying a reliance on the Puritans and other godly mentors. Through it all she avoids all of the trendy and new forms of prayer and meditation and simply describes what has brought joy and growth to so many Christians for so many years.
This is a book for women that has been of great benefit to at least one man. Yes, I had to substitute the occasional word and re-work some of the application, but what DeMoss teaches is universal. Whether men or women, we were created to long for and to need fellowship with God. In his kindness God has given us prayer and his Word so that we may delight in him by enjoying relationship with him. This book stirred my love for the Lord, it stirred my desire to pursue him through the means he has given us, and it gave me specific and helpful ways of doing just that. I am certain that it can do just the same for you.