The Spirit of the Disciplines

Understanding How God Changes Lives

Dallas Willard

The Spirit of the Disciplines is for everyone who strives to be a disciple of Jesus in thought and action as well as intention.

Available in paperback (, Barnes & Noble,, eBook (Kindle, Nook, CBDReader) and audio (CD, Audible, download) formats.

Also available in Traditional Chinese, Dutch, German, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai and in the UK.

(San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988) 276 pp, ISBN: 0060694424. U.K. edition (Harper Collins), slightly modified, 1996.
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Believers long for personal purity and power to live as our hearts tell us we should. But how does God change us?

To perform appropriately in the moment when you're "on the spot" you must be preparing when you're "off the spot." We understand this principle when we think of great athletes or musicians, but rarely see it's application in our own efforts to be a "good Christian." The Spirit of the Disciplines presents a way of living that enables ordinary men and women to join with God and realize their highest aspirations of well-being and -doing. The key to this self-transformation resides in the practice of the spiritual disciplines. Readers will learn why the disciplines work and how their practice affirms human life to the fullest.

The Spirit of the Disciplines places solitude and silence, prayer, simple and sacrificial living, meditation upon God's word and ways, and service to others at the heart of the gospel. "We can increasingly resemble Christ in character and in power by following him in his overall style of life ... This was the method of his earliest disciples, and it is as valid today as it was then." After all, if Jesus regularly engaged in these activities, how is it that we simple humans expect to get by without them? To enter into the spirit and practice of the disciplines is to move toward the authentic life of faith in Christ and active participation in the Kingdom of God around us.

If it's your desire to become the kind of person who can live in the fulness of the life God has for you, the observation of the disciplines is your first step. It sounds challenging and, besides, where will you find the time? But take note of the word "easy" in the title of chapter one: It really will be easy — once you get the hang of it.

The Spirit of the Disciplines is a thoughtful guide to an enriched spiritual life, a book about how to live as Christ lived, directed to those who hope to be his disciples in deed as well as intention. It details why the disciplines are essential to our deliverance from the concrete power of sin, and outlines the ways that they can help each of us achieve the blessings of the companionship of Christ.

This book is a companion to Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline.


The book of the decade.

Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline

In the providence of God this book stands out as a sort of blessed serendipity in today’s devotional literature ... It pleads eloquently for a renaissance of traditional spiritual disciplines among all Christians ... If that plea is heeded, there will be ... transforming consequences in both the church and society.

VERNON C. GROUNDS, president emeritus, Denver Seminary

Written with theological wisdom and hope ... A profound call to discipleship based on spiritual disciplines. With illuminating depth Dallas Willard awakens us to a forgotten truth, that transformation to Christlikeness is realized through taking on the ‘easy yoke’ of the disciplines. If you yearn for full participation in teh Christlike life, this book willl offer the insight and challenge.

Sue Monk Kid, author of God's Joyful Surprise

A strong call to biblical obedience and discipline, this book presents a fresh look at the eternal—and contemporary—relevance of the Scriptures ... The Lord Jesus Christ is beautifully lifted up as our complete and identifying model for such living. Here’s a book that not only clearly teaches these basic principles for life on the highest plane, but also challenges us to reach even higher in our earthly pilgrimage.

Ted W. Engstrom, president emeritus, World Vision

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  1. The Secret of the Easy Yoke
  2. Making Theology of the Disciplines Practical
  3. Salvation Is a Life
  4. "Little Less Than a God"
  5. The Nature of Life
  6. Spiritual Life: The Body's Fulfillment
  7. St. Paul's Psychology of Redemption-The Example
  8. History and the Meaning of the Disciplines
  9. Some Main Disciplines for the Spiritual Life
  10. Is Poverty Spiritual?
  11. The Disciplines and the Power Structures of This World


Appendix I: Jeremy Taylor's Counsel on the Application of Rules for Holy Living

Appendix II: Discipleship: For Super-Christians Only?

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