Book Review: The Attentive Life by Leighton Ford
Author: Leighton Ford
Publisher: Intervarsity Press
Reading Level: Leisure
“Often we keep ourselves busy and distracted because we fear that if we slow down and are still, we may look inside and find nothing there.” p.12
The brilliant colors of fall, a strain of delightful music, and a child’s cry of joy or frustration will all arrest my thoughts and motivate my actions. They call me to “attention.” Leighton Ford’s The Attentive Life: Discerning God’s Presence in All Things urges a Christian life of purposeful attention upon God. Encompassing the inward and outward journeys of “looking and longing”, this attention that Ford commends is a perpetual, disciplinary struggle.
Ford weaves his endorsement with multiple threads from books, poetry, traditions, the lives of previous saints, and his own experiences. Structurally, the book follows the hours of prayer: from Vigils to Compline aligning life stages with a day engulfed in prayer. Ending each chapter is a person, “One Who Paid Attention”, embodying that hour’s theme.
Although convicting, The Attentive Life is also a soothing balm for any reader who is stressed, overwhelmed, or besieged by far too many responsibilities and expectations. Reflection and intentionality must live in the realm of deadlines and schedules. While Ford acknowledges this tension, hardship is not reason enough to forgo attention to God; The Attentive Life advocates self-discipline to recognize the comprehensive presence of God.
Glorification of God pervades this book; transmitted through prayerful, discerning, and active Christian lives. Practical habits of attentive souls mingle with gentle reminders that God alone holds transformational power. Encouraging an adjustment to our focus, Leighton Ford dives deeply, uncovering gems. All who walk the path of Christianity would find benefit engaging The Attentive Life.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.