The “Spiritual Formation” area of this website is devoted to resources that may be helpful to individual Friends, meetings, and to those leading retreats and other spiritual formation programs. Quakers traditionally were very resistant to formal religious education because of concern that it would interfere with the spontaneous motion of God in Friends’ hearts through prayer, vocal ministry, and spontaneous song. Most Friends today, even Conservative Friends, are much more open to intentional and group activity that opens are hearts and lives to the Divine Teacher.

This first section is devoted to prayer and other individual spiritual practices.

The Discipline of Prayer is a 1948 Pendle Hill pamphlet by Frederick Tritton.

Ten Questions on Prayer is a 1951 Pendle Hill pamphlet by Gerald Heard.

The World in Tune is a Pendle Hill pamphlet by Elizabeth Gray Vining describing many different types of prayer.

Intercessory prayer

Many Friends meetings across the U.S. have begun setting aside time for intercessory prayer at the final portion or soon after the close of worship. This is often referred to as “holding a person in the Light”—presumably to make the idea more palatable to those who are uncertain about the meaning of praying for others. Whatever the language that is used to describe this practice, it has led to naming our own needs and those of others we care about much more frequently than happened in our meetings in the past.

On Praying for Others—and Ourselves is a 2000 Friends Journal article by Peter Blood. Peter wrote again on this subject in the March 2024 FJ issue on healing prayer—We Are All Held in Love: Reflections on the Practice of Holding in the Light.

Marcelle Martin has written about this subject in Holding One Another in the Light, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #382, in 2006.

Prayer without ceasing

This is a form of prayer that is practiced throughout one’s day, while engaging in one’s ordinary daily activities.

The Joy That Is Set Before Us is the conclusion of the 1956 William Penn Lecture by Quaker peace educator Elise Boulding.

Brother Lawrence (1614-91), a French Carmelite monk, is well known for a collection of his writings published posthumously, The Practice of the Presence of God.

Dolores Leckey is a Catholic writer who wrote a book in 1982 called The Ordinary Way: A Family Spirituality about how one can practice a way of spirituality within the context of family life and intimate friendships. You can buy a used copy online or read the bookline using a digital reader such as via

Contemplative prayer

This describes the wordless prayer of the faithful—a turning of one’s being towards God. It has similarities to meditation, but is more directly focused on God, a living Person at the heart of our lives than is present in many forms of meditation.

The Catholic monk Thomas Merton wrote a short but wonderful book on this subject called Contemplative Prayer quotations

This is also sometimes referred to as Christian mysticism.


Jews and Christians have been setting aside a day of rest for millenia. The need for creating space in one’s life apart from one’s usual activities becomes ever more urgent in this 24/7 world of electronic devices.

Two great books on this subject are: Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Muller

Sabbath Time: Understanding & Practice for Contemporary Christians by Tilden Edwards

The third section of the pamphlet Walking with the Bible includes sharing by Colin Saxton on finding spaciousness in our lives for God.




Body practices

There are a wide variety of ways of opening up our lives to God through things we do with our body from yoga to t’ai ch’i, sacred dance, etc., see the section on Embodiment.