The Attentive Life: Discerning God's Presence in All Things, By Leighton Ford alt

The Attentive Life

Discerning God's Presence in All Things

by Leighton Ford

The Attentive Life
  • Length: 229 pages
  • Published: October 01, 2013
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: 9644
  • ISBN: 9780830896448

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Your attention, please.

That's what God wants, Leighton Ford discovered. It's the path to becoming like Christ.

Distractions, fear and busyness were keeping Ford from seeing God's work in and around him. He was missing God. So he began a journey of longing and looking for God. And it started with paying attention.

In these pages, he invites you to journey with him. Using the rich monastic tradition of praying the hours, Ford will walk with you, helping you pay attention to God's work in you and around you throughout each day and in different seasons of your life.

If you're busy, distracted, rushing through each day, you might be feeling disconnected from God, unable to see how he's working. You might be missing him. But the way toward him starts with a pause and a prayer—with intention and attention—and becomes a way of life, awake and alive to the peaceful, powerful presence of God.

"Leighton Ford writes with insight, faith and balance. This book, like Jesus, transcends all denominational lines. Drawing on the wisdom of many traditions, The Attentive Life is a warm invitation to wake up, not just to the reality of God but to what is deepest inside of us. This is a gold mine of wisdom and balance, a challenging thought on every page. I heartily recommend it to readers of all faiths."

Ronald Rolheiser, author of The Holy Longing

"Awakening is a central metaphor for the spiritual life. In a compelling voice that comes from years of spiritual journeying, Leighton Ford shows us how to wake up and pay attention to the presence of God--through the hours of our days and the seasons of our lives."

Ruth Haley Barton, president of the Transforming Center and author of Sacred Rhythms

"My heart sings when I realize that Leighton Ford's intelligent experience continues to look with longing for more. His attention keeps getting arrested by words, ideas, images, details of the natural and supernatural landscapes. . . . This book is a primer in how to respond actively to Jesus' challenge: 'Behold! Look! Listen! Take notice! There is still so much for you to discover.'"

Luci Shaw, poet and author of Breath for the Bones and The Crime of Living Cautiously and writer-in-residence, Regent College

"I thank God for The Attentive Life. It provides an antidote to the primary spiritual problem of our day: distraction. The Attentive Life is the mature reflections of one who has spent a lifetime walking in the way of Jesus."

Richard J. Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and Life with God

"This is a book of such quiet beauty and deep simplicity it is difficult to describe. I was both pierced and healed by longing in the reading of it. The word soul is thrown around far too easily these days, but this book will touch the soul if you let it."

John Ortberg, pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and author of The Life You've Always Wanted

Ford examines how distractions of our post-modern world rob us of the time we spend with God. Through this easy-flowing book, he leads one into the practice of attentiveness, pointing out that the best and deepest things of life come through attentive waiting. Appropriate for both new Christians and those of long-time faith.

LW, Libraries Alive, Winter 2009

This book will take more than one reading to absorb its richness. Personal illustrations, an abundance of thought-provoking quotes, and memorable object lessons make this a book that may become a contemporary classic.

JZ, Church Libraries, Fall 2008

. . . A wonderfully compelling invitation to a life of prayer . . . Ford know how to share the "hours" with witful intelligence, charm and winsome conviction. This delightfully well-written book [will] provide any group with a host of insights, provocations, and layered viewpoints for discussion.

Praying Daily (, August 11, 2008

This book is special. It stretches the soul and makes "everything a prayer."

Lamplighter, August 2008

Filled with examples of those who "paid attention," Ford's evangelical bona fides are unquestionable and well worth reading.

The Christian Courier, August 2008

Using the richt tradition of praying the hours, Ford will walk with you, helping you pay attention to God's work in you and around you throughout each day and in different seasons of your life.

Alice Brasky on Book Bargains and Previews, June 1008

The Attentive Life chronicles [Ford's] new desire to "be attentive" and more deeply nurture a viable set of practices that facilitate such spiritual intimacy with God. The Attentive Life is a perfect example of the kinds of things the Formatio line is about. We highly recommend it.

Byron Borger, Hearts Minds Books, April 30, 2008

"Those who appreciate contemplative, gentle, insightful focus into the spiritual life will enjoy this partly autobiographical work."

Anita Cain, CBA Retailers + Resources, May 2008

"Ford expresses in an almost poetic manner the peace that comes with the continual observation of and attentiveness to the presence of God."

Heidi L. Ippolito, Christian Retailing, April 21, 2008

"[A] distinctly Protestant addition to the tradition of monastic spirituality."

Publishers Weekly, March 10, 2008

"A spirit of ecumenism informs Ford's gracefully written guide to thoughtful prayer and attentiveness to God's voice."

Library Journal, March 1, 2008


An Introduction: Short Flights and Quick Returns
One Who Paid Attention: C. S. Lewis Looking Along a Beam

1. Paying Attention: The Hours of Our Lives
One Who Paid Attention: Simone Weil on a Postage Stamp

2. The Birthing Hour: Time Before Time
One Who Paid Attention: Vincent Donovan--the Masai Chief, the Missionary and the Lion God

3. Daybreak: The Hour of Beginnings
One Who Paid Attention: The Teacher Who Took Off His Hat

4. Prime Time: Our Root System
One Who Paid Attention: My Spiritual Director Dog

5. Active Life: A Slower Pace in a Faster World
One Who Paid Attention: Kierkegaard?s Lanterns, Fireworks and Stars

6. The Noonday Demon: Our Distractible Selves
One Who Paid Attention: How Mother Teresa Kept Going

Holy Stillness: An Interlude

7. When Shadows Come: Darkness Comes Early
One Who Paid Attention: Jerry Sittser Trying to Catch the Sun

8. Lighting the Lamps: The House with Golden Windows
One Who Paid Attention: Nouwen, a Restless Prophet

9. Grandfather Time: When Evening Comes
One Who Paid Attention: Hwee Hwee Tan, Becoming What We Look At

Epilogue: The Journey Home

Appendix: Observing the Hours


In Attention to Gratitude



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Leighton Ford

Leighton Ford is president of Leighton Ford Ministries. He served for many years as an evangelist with Billy Graham, and was featured as the alternate speaker to Billy Graham on the Hour of Decision broadcast. He also served for nearly twenty years as chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, an international body of Christian leaders, and for many years has mentored emerging leaders all over the world. The author or coauthor of numerous books, including Transforming Leadership and The Attentive Life, Ford lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.