David: The Illustrated Novel by Michael Hicks Thompson

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David by Martheus WadeThen he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd's bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine. —1 Samuel 17: 40

David drew near to the Philistine. He had no armor, no sword or shield, and no second to back him up if he were to stumble. Only his faith, his sling and his five smooth stones, selected from the dry riverbed. He was utterly alone facing a towering giant who cursed him and promised to feed his flesh to wild animals.

The story of David and Goliath is possibly one of the best known of all time. David, the young boy with the slingshot, defeats the powerful giant who threatens not only to tear him apart but to enslave his people. We love David because he is a courageous underdog, a good-looking, resourceful hero who stands up against a well-equipped and boastful oppressor.

There is no subtlety in this story. David is undaunted by Goliath’s size and strength, crying out to him “…the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hand." (1 Samuel 17: 46b-47).   Goliath is well-armed and powerful by human standards, but David is confident that those criteria will not determine victory. David knows that God has given him everything he needs. And to drive in the point, we have the presence of five smooth stones. They were all that David required to fell the great oak Goliath. Five stones and the courage to act out of faith.

What are the stones that assist us? What do we see when we survey our lives for the resources God has provided us? These questions call us to look mindfully, to be aware of God’s gifts and the uses they hold. Ours is an ever-present creator and redeemer God. When we have faith that God is there for us, we become more present to the divine. We, like the ancient Israelites, are called to a fresh and awakened faith—a faith that, like David’s, is strong enough to support the conviction that with God, five smooth stones can conquer a giant.


It is possible to live each moment of our daily life in such a way that helps us to touch our ultimate dimension. And this is a wonderful way to transcend fear. 

Thich Nhat Hanh
excerpted from Walking with Peace and Presence

Be still, and know that I am God! —Psalm 46:10


Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

— Frederick Buechner


We often spend our days completely unaware of what is right in front of us. While life is unfolding before us, we risk missing the breath and presence of the Holy One if we cannot slow down our speed and be present now. Spiritual teachers of all religious traditions have taught that the only way to really know God, to apprehend God, is to be aware of God’s presence in the moment.

—Renée Miller
excerpted from The Practice of Mindfulness


But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. —Micah 7:7


Prayer for Staying Centered
Gracious God, when my life is moving along at break-neck speed, I feel so distracted from the things that are really important to my heart and soul. It seems like my lack of focus keeps me from paying attention to what really nourishes me. Help me learn to give less priority to what only leaves me feeling empty. Remind me that when I give priority to what is really important everything else falls into place with greater ease. I ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

—from Prayers for Living

Explore daily the will of God.  —Carl Gustav Jung  


Someone once said that to recognize the signs of God, pay attention to your stirrings. Look closely when you feel the swell of joy within, or the tightness as your throat closes up in sorrow. Live in that moment, poke around in its corners, and feel the texture of its walls. Sit with it for awhile, long enough to sense the presence of God sitting with you.

—from When We Are Real



I try to remember that the words of a prayer are not really to call to God’s attention the things that I profess to believe that God already knows. They are really to bring me to attention for what God may be saying to me. 

—Robert Benson
excerpted from Robert Benson on Praying with Words


When we are open to the presence of God in all the moments and through all the people of our lives, we will find that we feel God’s presence, and hear God’s voice. It is always the case that when we hear God’s voice, our soul grows more deeply in the love of God. And, the more deeply we love God, the more aware of God’s voice we become.

Renée Miller
excerpted from Hearing God’s Voice

"Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known."

— A.A. Milne