Richard J. Foster, author of Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, identifies six dimensions of faith and practice that are at the core of the Christian tradition: contemplative, holiness, charismatic, social justice, evangelical, and incarnational. They all grow out of Jesus' ministry — his prayer and intimacy, purity of heart, life in the Spirit, advocacy of justice and shalom, proclamation of the evangel, and sacrament of the present moment.

The chapter on the contemplative tradition or the prayer-filled life, for example, is organized around various profiles: Anthony of the Desert as the historical example, John the Beloved as the biblical expression of the movement, and Frank C. Laubach as the contemporary figure. Foster then outlines ways in which the contemplative tradition has enriched the Christian path. He also lists its potential perils. The chapter concludes with suggestions for practicing the contemplative tradition.

Foster's eagle-eye overview of Christian history vividly conveys its variety and its colorful characters including Dietrich Bonhoeffer (holiness tradition), John Woolman (social justice tradition), Billy Graham (evangelical tradition), and Dag Hammarskjold (incarnational tradition). At the end of the book, the author presents an additional 200 notable figures and significant movements in church history.