Friday, October 4, 2013

Reviewing Paul Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World

Paul Miller's book, A Praying Life, was published four years ago and has sat on our Chinese bookshelf for much of that time. Recently though I was motivated to complete the book prior to a focused day of prayer. I desire to be more than someone who dispenses popcorn prayers, says grace before family meals, and provides nicely worded vertical requests at organized gatherings. I desire to be a prayer warrior who prays without ceasing; however, I permit so much to distract me from constantly communicating with my Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, my sick heart prefers reading and talking about prayer with other sick people instead of praising the Great Physician. Fortunately, Miller's book supplied not only sound theology but practical advice to help me better understand how I can go about better communing with my Creator.

A Praying Life consists of five sections divided into 32 compact chapters. The chapters are largely composed of personal family stories that show Miller struggles with sin like all of us. The chapters also show we have a great God who always answers prayer perfectly. We may not always like or understand God's answers, but we can trust that our Sovereign Lord knows what He is doing. I am thankful for Miller's use of Scripture throughout his book as well as the sprinkling of informative diagrams.

Miller's book is endorsed by a few authors who I have greatly benefited from (Tim KellerKen Sande, and Paul David Tripp). Within the book, you will find Miller quoting a wide range of people who have different thoughts on prayer (St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Nancy Pearcey, John Piper, N.T. Wright, Philip Yancey, Ravi Zacharias). Although I strongly disagree with some of the theological viewpoints of some of these people, I was not disturbed by anything I read in Miller's book. Also provided in the 280-page book are a foreword by David Powlison, a short introduction, some acknowledgments, more than six pages of notes, and advertisements for a few other resources from Miller. Below are the titles of the sections of the book.

Section 1: Learning to Pray Like a Child
Section 2: Learning to Trust Again
Section 3: Learning to Ask Your Father
Section 4: Living in Your Father's Story
Section 5: Praying in Real Life

I recommend checking out Miller's book if you are feeling spiritually dry and want to supplement your time in the Word. As a result of reading A Praying Life, I decided to use a prayer list again - a practice I stopped a few years ago. This time around I'll use my ever-changing list in hopes that it will enable me to have a more fruitful praying life. Please do not hesitate to lift me up or ask me how I am doing. I always can use the accountability.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12