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The Habit of Keeping Divine Company

A warning against the overcrowded life

And finally, having received the Word for ourselves, we pray for others—urgently, zealously, faithfully, understanding that “a Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses.” Don't worry about distraction as you pray, assured Bonhoeffer. Pray for the people who surface to the level of consciousness as if brought there by God.

The day alone is the indispensable habit for every Christian. Noise may, for a time, dull the pang of inner loneliness. An audience may, if momentarily, relieve the terror of escaping notice. But the crowds (and their cheers) can never satisfy the deepest human longings. We were made not for the love of the crowds but for the love of the Father, which sends us out “strengthened and purified,” according to Bonhoeffer. And though the day alone may not always produce good feelings, it should always produce good fruit. “Has it lodged the Word of God so securely and deeply in his heart that it holds and fortifies him, impelling him to active love, to obedience, to good works? Only the day can decide.”

Jen Pollock Michel is the author of Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith. She lives in Toronto with her family.


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