Last night was the last in a four week small group study of this book. It was a useful book to discuss. We are all busy and stressed in the modern world and the reminder to actively seek solitude, silence, simplicity and surrender. It is always hard to separate a group’s discussion from the book, but the book led to a good group discussion.
One of the odd things about this book, that you really need to know if you are going to order it, is that there are two different versions of the book. The hardcover, right, is an 80 page small format book (Prayer of Jabez style gift hardcover.) It was published in 2000 by Thomas Nelson. The paperback, above, is about 30 pages of content, published in 1996 by Word Publishing. My best guess is that the paperback was written as a group study (it has questions and places to write in the book), then Charles Swindoll was asked to re-write the book to go in the gift book style format and the book was re-released with the same title and marketed to individuals.
I read both, because we ordered the hardcover (used) to read before the group, then ordered the paperbacks for the rest of the group, thinking I would save some money. But the books are completely different. The paperback has four chapters, one is an introduction, then three chapters that deal with the four different principles. The hardcover has a different introduction, then a discussion of Paul and how he pursued God. Then one long chapter that deals with the four disciplines and a conclusion. The rough content is the same. But the order is different, the presentation is different.
As a group study, the paperback is better. It is shorter and gets directly to the meat of the subject while giving questions. If you are reading it by yourself, then the hardcover is probably better because there is more to it.
Overall, I recommend it as a group study, but I think it is probably too short as an individual book. There are other books that deal with the pursuit of God more fully. Just make sure you order the one you actually want.