We take it for granted that aspects of monastic life can sustain our daily lives in the world, but we owe this understanding to John Main, a Benedictine monk who pioneered the idea that the desert tradition of meditative or contemplative prayer, which had largely been forgotten in the West, was for all Christians.
At his monastery in London, he started teaching this way of prayer to lay groups and a network of meditation groups came into being, quickly spreading throughout the world and renewing a sense of the Church as a fellowship rooted in prayer and contemplative action. Bestselling books soon grew out of his talks.
This simple, practical guide to 'pure prayer' teaches that by ceasing to struggle to find words and images by which we all too easily try to control God, we give God freedom to be himself in our hearts and we begin to pray with 'the mind of Christ', as St Paul teaches. In a nervous world saturated with image and endless self-commentary, this is a nourishing, life-giving stream of hope and refreshment.