Why Old Things Matter

“We today suffer from the unexamined notion that the more recent something is, the better, or more true it must be.” – Richard Foster

Old things matter. We feel it when we lay our hand on the weathered bark of an old tree, experience the frail but warm embrace of an aging family member, or taste a wine that has taken time to become to the palate what only a fine wine can be.

What has stood the test of time has stood the test of time. The longevity of anything speaks of its durability.

When it comes to spiritual practices that can help us “feed on Christ” (John 6:57 – “Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me”) sometimes “old” is the new “new.”

The spiritual practice of the Daily Examen, a pattern of prayer that was formed (I believe by the Holy Spirit) in the heart of Ignatius of Loyola in the early 1500s, is like that for me.

I’ve met with God in a thousand profound moments through many vehicles like songs, communion, relational moments, art exhibits, long walks, and more.

I welcome spontaneity, and have had the privilege of leading many into moments of worship that have surprised me as well as the rest of us in the room.

But I have never so consistently and so profoundly been able to re-orient myself to the love of Christ, in seasons of both deep suffering and inexpressible joy, as I have through the Daily Examen.

In an extended season of chronic health struggles, with the attendant anxieties and inner battles with which such struggles come, it is been my anchor spiritual practice.

Sometimes old things are old – and yet are still in our view – for a reason.

Dan +


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Richard Foster quote is from p. 1 of Foster, Richard J. Devotional Classics. HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2005.


Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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