While it is currently popular (and rightly so) to emphasize the community aspect of Christianity and the primacy of the Church, there is a deeply personal element to our faith that we can’t afford to ignore. Christ brings us into His body as individuals, and it is our responsibility to cultivate our personal relationship with Him for the benefit of the Church and of ourselves.
Christ Himself prayed alone often, and the tradition of holy men and women throughout Church history has promoted and practiced the habit. David prayed privately and read the Word of God, Daniel prayed in secret, Jesus tells us to worship the Father in ways no one else can see. This isn’t so we can hide our faith, but so that we can strengthen it without displaying false piety.
There is a public and private element to every relationship, especially intimate ones. If we are Christ’s bride, there is a social aspect and a private, intimate aspect to our relationship with Him. Cultivation of the intimate element requires self-discipline, but the closer one becomes to Christ the less this seems like “spiritual discipline” and the more it becomes in every sense “true spirituality.”
The practices of prayer, reading and meditating on the Scripture, fasting, self-control and various other disciplines have always been the collective cornerstone of Christian devotion. While some of these may come more naturally to certain people, all of them are important and beneficial, and all of them should be pursued by all Christians.
The books we offer focus primarily on the positive angle as opposed to the negative (“this is how to pursue spiritual discipline” rather than “this is really hard if not impossible, but you should try anyway”). In many ways these are foundational to everything we stand for at Exodus, since this is not merely a possible educational route, it is an integral part of our life as believers.