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Book Review: A Praying Life

March 9, 2012
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 A Praying Life by Paul Miller was unexpectedly a great book. As I started it, I thought it would be more of the same: Ideas for fixed patterns in prayer. The kind that makes you feel good because  you have checked prayer off the daily “To Do” list.

At the beginning of the book, when Mr. Miller encouraged us to come to the Lord “messy”  (with all our problems) and committed the highest fault of saying that it was okay to be “needy” right at the start of your prayer time, I was tempted to think it might be an irreverent look at prayer.

After all, mentioning your needs right up front could be considered rude. And to be “messy” in the presence of the Creator of the Universe would be treating God with disrespect, wouldn’t it???

I pressed on and was challenged to guard against cynicism and to believe. He reminded me that My Father was not only able to give any gift but delighted in giving good gifts. At the same time, Mr. Miller’s focus was not about a rosy world that you would live in when God answers all your prayers with a “Yes.”

In fact, Mr.Miller’s own life has been shaped by adversity. He gave many examples from his own life with their autistic daughter, Kim. He refers to it as being part of the “story” – God’s story that He is creating in our lives.

When you look at a difficulty or trial with the perspective that it is a part of the story that God is weaving in your life, you will be:

  • Waiting rather than bitter,
  • Watching rather than angry,
  • Wondering rather than aimless,
  • Praying rather than cynical,
  • Submitting rather than controlling, and
  • Hoping, thanking, and repenting, rather than hopeless, thankless, and blaming.

Here is a helpful illustration in relation to guarding against cynicism:

While none of the options looks appealing, the author takes the time to recount the desert times in the lives of Jesus, Moses, and by application David, and Paul. The reality of the lives of these men didn’t match the hope, but it is okay to live in the desert.  These times of testing are good and necessary.

The last part of the book is devoted to the practical. Mr. Miller shows us his system of using prayer cards and journals. I gleaned some great ideas here. One was to jot a Bible verse alongside the name of the person you are praying for.

I recommend this book to all, whether you have a vibrant prayer life or a sporadic one because prayer  can and does change things.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2012 6:17 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed this book. Isn’t it funny that we think we need to come to God with our life in order and our hearts in the right place. As if God doesn’t know that we are a mess in desperate need of Him. When I come to prayer with an attitude of need and know that I can be who I truly am, it is a much more honest time of prayer that will lead to praise and worship.


    • March 9, 2012 6:31 am

      So true! After all, to say we don’t have need is to live in pride. My neediness leads to His grace.

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