Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays ~ Book Review: A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

Prayer is not my specialty.

I believe in it.

I'm a big fan of it.

At least, I think I am.

The harsh reality is that while I have good intentions, my follow through leaves a little, something, a lot to be desired.

I find myself wondering if it really makes any difference? If God is sovereign (and He is) and He's in control (and He is) then what exactly is the point of spending hours in prayer? Or minutes?

If you've ever asked the same questions (or would have if you weren't afraid of being struck down for your heresy) then please read on.

This summer, I read A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul E. Miller and it is reshaping the way I think about prayer—the why, the how, the where, and the results or lack thereof.

Paul Miller asks the same kinds of questions I've asked. He has some great answers. And they might not be what you're expecting.

This isn't a book about how you need to get your act together, develop some self-discipline, wear holes in the carpet and rub callouses on your knees.

In fact, Miller argues that instead of trying to get it together, we need to come to God as we are. To “come messy” and see what God does with our mess. As he puts it, “We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers.”

He tackles tough questions about prayer using examples from his family and personal life and then he gives practical, real-world examples of what a praying life looks like in our frenzied society.

Whether your prayer life is robust, scattered, or on life-support, A Praying Life will open your eyes afresh to the wonder, the mystery, the gift, the joy of prayer.

Prayer is hard.

But prayer is worth the effort.

“Regardless of how or when you pray, if you give God the space, he will touch your soul. God knows you are exhausted, but at the same time he longs to be part of your life. A feast awaits.” (A Praying Life, page 51)

This book has been in my "being read" stack for a couple of years. (I started it. Just never finished it.) I wish I'd read it sooner. If you've read it, or choose to read it in the months ahead, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you.
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Vonda Skelton said...

Thank you for your honesty. I have to admit, I struggle in my prayer life, too, Lynn. For the same reasons you list.

I pray everyday, but I'm jealous for that closer, more intimate feeling others talk about. But even in my struggle, I hang on to the truth that I know He hears and cares.