Remembering Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard went to be with his Lord this morning. Many people will miss his strong, gentle wisdom, remembering him as someone who was soaked in the presence of Christ. He was a beloved friend and writer to many. We enjoyed publishing a number of titles by Dallas (1935-2013), especially one of his signature books, Hearing God.

Perhaps twenty

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years ago I was with Dallas as he led a two-day retreat for a dozen or so of us. In particular I remember his talking about practicing the disciplines of solitude and silence, something he tried to do for thirty minutes a day. I asked him what he meant by that. And he told us.

“And do you pray?” I asked.


“Or meditate or read the Scriptures?”


“Then what?”

“Nothing. I just sit. In the presence of Christ.”

What made

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very little sense to me then has come to mean more and more to me as the years have gone by. As the pace of life has become more abuzz with activity and stimulation and distraction, I have more and more craved time to just sit, and do nothing, except be in Christ’s presence. It has become a centering, still point in a topsy-turvy world. It reminds me what is important and who is important, what is a crisis and what is not.

As Dallas taught so many, the Sabbath and Sabbath moments like the ones he described are ways of acknowledging who is in charge of the world and who is not. It reminds us that we are dependent on God and not ourselves. Our activity, our work, our intensity are not god. And by resting from those things, we acknowledge who is.

By giving away money we at once blaspheme the god of Mammon and worship the true God. By giving away time we at once blaspheme the god of Activity and worship the true One.

These I gratefully carry with me, gifts from Dallas Willard.

Author: Andy Le Peau

I've been an editor and writer for over forty years. I am passionate about ideas and how we can express them clearly, beautifully, and persuasively. I love reading good books, talking about them, and recommending them. I thoroughly enjoy my family who help me continue on the path of a lifelong learner.

7 thoughts on “Remembering Dallas Willard”

  1. Dallas Willard has been nothing short of a “spiritual director” for me, while the community of Renovare and IVPress/Formatio continue to provide resources and encouragement to me as I ply the waters of anam cara in obedience. Thanks Andy, and thank you Dallas, enjoy those conversations with all the saints!

  2. Thanks Andy, this is lovely.

    I only met Dallas once, and remember being puzzled by his quietness – his persistent peacefulness. Now Hearing God is one of my favourite ever books. I love what he says about asking God and then going to do something like gardening or washing dishes – nothing too taxing – until an answer comes.


  3. “Nothing. I just sit. In the presence of Christ.”

    Thank you, Andy, for this memory. “In that day there were giants in the land.”

    (Is the ‘blaspheme’ quote from Dallas, or your own composition? It certainly reflects his perspective.)

  4. Hi Doug: The blaspheme thought was kind of my own. Actually the idea of blaspheming the god of Mammon by giving money away comes from Jacques Ellul. I just extended it to the idea of doing the same thing with time and the god of Activity, Busyness or Productivity–a god that has a strong pull on me.

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