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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World Paperback – April 5, 2017
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This is as fine a book on prayer as you will ever read, but it is so much more. It is the story of our struggle to actually live like we believe that our heavenly Father really does love us. If we did, nothing could keep us from being committed to the day-by-day hard work of prayer. Paul Miller exegetes our struggle in a way that is convicting, insight giving, and encouraging. This is a book on prayer that actually makes you want to pray! (Paul David Tripp, president, Paul Tripp Ministries)
In my library, I have perhaps twenty different volumes on prayer, but none captured my heart or propelled me into fresh communion with our Father as much as A Praying Life. Finally, a book that applies the radical implications of the gospel of God’s grace to prayer! With childlike wonder, sage-like wisdom, and heartfelt candor, Paul shows us that to pray is to see Jesus more clearly and meet him more regularly in every single aspect and moment of the day. Thanks, my friend, for calling me back to what really matters. (Scotty Smith, teacher in residence, West End Community Church)
A Praying Life is a deeply moving testimony to God’s power in prayer. Paul Miller shares his life and biblical wisdom to instill in us, his readers, a “heart that becomes a factory of prayer”―that is, a passion to speak to God honestly and in a way that will change our life and the lives of others for whom we pray. (Tremper Longman III, PhD, author of Reading the Bible with Heart and Mind)
If Jesus or Jesus’ saving grace is just an abstraction to you, Paul Miller will be a great help in making his love a living reality to your heart. (Tim Keller, author of The Reason for God)
Paul Miller refuses to separate the spiritual life from the rest of our daily living. In A Praying Life, he shows the difference that constant communication with Christ makes in the everyday experiences of life, especially the life of the family. Reading this book will help you make prayer a more important part of your own life story by integrating prayer into the daily routines of life. (Philip Ryken, author of The Message of Salvation)
Honest, realistic, mature, wise, deep. Warmly recommended. (J. I. Packer)
A book on prayer that actually makes you want to pray! (Paul David Tripp)
Prayer, the concept and the practice, exposes our core doubts and desperation for God. Paul Miller captures the promise of prayer as a gift that connects us to the heart of the Father and as a path for transforming the world. Paul’s honest struggle with living a life full of prayer and his childlike delight in hearing the heart of God invite us to gratitude and call us to speak boldly to our God. This book will be like having the breath of God at your back. Let it lift you to new hope. (Dan B. Allender, PhD, author of Bold Love)
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.” Paul Miller’s superb book calls us back to this “greater work,” reminding us of the joy we find in our Lord’s presence and equipping us with practical insight on how to recapture the intimacy and power of a praying life. (Ken Sande, founder, Relational Wisdom 360)
From the Back Cover
PRAYER is simply you―a child of a good Father―making conversation with him a rhythm of your life.
For most of us, prayer is so hard that unless circumstances demand it, we simply do not pray. Prayerlessness is rooted in unbelief. Because of prayerlessness, our lives are often marked by fear, anxiety, joylessness, and spiritual lethargy.
If prayerlessness marks your life more often than not, A Praying Life is for you. Now with added chapters on prayers of lament and further guidance for using prayer cards, Paul Miller introduces us to prayer that regularly and consistently hopes, trusts, and expects God to act.
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God’s been at work in my life driving me to prayer. Books like Beloved Dust by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel and Prayer by Timothy Keller have helped. So has a growing sense of helplessness — a good thing, as it turns out.
I recently read A Praying Life by Paul Miller, and I’m glad I did. It’s one of the most practical books I’ve read on the subject, and is helping me overcome some of my struggles in prayer.
Miller begins by describing all the reasons that people don’t pray. We wonder if prayer does anything, and even if God is listening. Not only that, our efforts to pray fall short, because we tend to focus on prayer rather than on God, which is like focusing on the windshield while driving rather than on the road.
The rest of the book is divided into five parts. In part one, Miller helps us learn how to pray as a child. “Come overwhelmed with life. Come with a wandering mind. Come messy,” he writes. We can come to God as we are, asking, believing, playing, and without much to offer, just as children do.
In part two, Miller helps us overcome our cynicism, which he calls the dominant spirit of the age. We will not pray as long as we are cynical. Miller explains how Jesus cures our cynicism and leads us into trust.
In part three, Miller explores the ways we pray about everything — even the small things — in our daily lives, knowing that God is both infinite and personal. God cares about parking spots and the small annoyances of parenting, such as how our kids pour milk. Miller helps teach us how to ask God, and also helps us understand Jesus’ extravagant promises about prayer.
In part four, Miller guides us to consider our lives last part of the bigger story that God is creating. “Often when you think everything has gone wrong,” he writes, “it’s just that you’re in the middle of a story.”
Finally, in part five, Miller gives us practical tools on how to pray using prayer cards and a prayer journal. He helps us understand how to hear from God without over-relying on our intuition.
Miller writes honestly as someone who has struggled with prayer himself, but also as someone who has learned to pray. The book is steeped in the reality of family life, and is, as some have called it, kind of a prayer memoir. Rather than a weakness, I see this as a strength. It not only teaches about prayer, but illustrates its teaching with stories from his own life and family.
A Praying Life illustrates what a real, messy life looks like when it’s a life of prayer. It makes a praying life seem attainable, and a prayerless life unimaginable. If you, like me, would like your life to be a praying one, then I highly recommend this book. I wish I’d read it years ago.
Oddly enough, prayer is not the center of the book. This book is primarily about God--the God who asks his people to come to him in confidence that he hears and answers prayer. Miller encourages us to get to know God and make Him the focus rather than prayer. Too often prayer becomes an end in itself rather than the means to relationship with God.
Miller uses family stories--small vignettes of daily life--to add a personal touch that keeps the book from being a purely intellectual exercise. This is a tremendous help, as it helps us to see the importance of joining prayer with the rest of our life. This is why the author advocates a praying life--that is a life of prayer.
Miller divides his subject into five parts. In the first part, he writes about praying like a child. Miller wants his readers to learn to love spending time with their Father, to learn to be helpless as children are before their father. In order to pray like a child, we have to unlearn some of our impersonal praying style. In part 2 he encourages readers to "trust again," to put aside the cynicism that is common to our culture. Part 3 is devoted to learning how to petition God, to ask for things in prayer and to do so with confidence. Miller helps us see why we find it so hard to ask and teaches the grounds by which we can ask.
In part 4 Miller introduces a concept that was most helpful to me. He encourages us to see that God is weaving a grand story into the lives of his people. The fifth and final part is the most practical part of the book, teaching real-life praying through journaling and using prayer cards--a 3x5 index card for each major area in our life that we pray about.
Miller does an excellent job of teaching us about prayer. He says very little that is not supported by Scripture. He gives us reasons why our prayers are sometimes ineffective. The value of Miller's book is in teaching us that prayer cannot be an add-on to the Christian life. It is instrumental to living the Christian life. In doing so, he helped me to see that my prayers don't have to be perfect to be effective. I found it comforting that his mind also tended to wander when he prayed. But he points out that God takes us as we are because of Jesus. We look at the inadequacy of our prayers and give up. Miller helps us to see that the Father receives us as we are because of the adequacy of his Son. Because of Jesus, God delights in our messy, meandering prayers.
Perhaps the greatest help to me was to see that I need to stop trying to control my life and instead take every concern, anxiety and problem to God in prayer. In doing so, we shift from worrying to watching as we seek to use prayer to change the hearts of those we love. That's the secret of the praying life: God becomes the One in control.
This book hits the bull's eye because it is enormously practical. Although I had an active prayer life, spending 45 minutes a day in prayer before I read this book, this book helped transform my prayer life. I am confident that Praying Life will improve your prayer life as well.
Miller does not fail to offer biblical teaching and practical advice about prayer itself, but he does so in the context of a deep pastoral understanding of life in general. The wisdom he gives about life is refreshingly idiosyncratic, and not stale, rehashed, old Christian jargon. We often feel a lot of guilt in the area of prayer, but Miller is careful not to add to that guilt, but rather to comfort us in God's unfailing, forgiving love. We also feel a lot of frustration and cynicism towards prayer, and his chapters on cynicism in the middle of the book are a real highlight.
Combining psychological insight, personal experience in faith, and very wise use of the Scriptures, Paul Miller gives the modern Christian a real breakthrough in what can be a very worn-out area of religion. I think this is a yearly read, for sure.