Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Praying Life (by Paul E. Miller)

I was going to try a reading round-up post....remember those? But I'll be honest, I'm not managing to read a lot in these crammed and tired days. The reading I am most enjoying is our nightly family reading time, where we are revisiting Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain. My tried and true December reading habits are being tested in big ways this year. I didn't seem to have enough energy to tackle a big Advent reading project. The history and biography habit that always seems to feed me in the cold winter months hasn't yet kicked in (maybe because the cold weather hasn't).

But I have to give a shout-out to this lovely book on prayer which I've been sipping at for several weeks. Because I am sipping...as in slooooww-reading....(think marinating, slow cooking)...I am not going to finish it before it has to go back to the library, but that's okay. It's worth getting again.

I've dipped my toes into a lot of prayer books over the years, reading some of them fully (and more than once) and skimming others. This is one of the best I can recall. It's simple, clear, and incredibly honest. Miller talks about prayer in ways that I think almost anyone can resonate with, letting us know in the book's introduction that God taught him to pray through suffering.  "...prayer isn't meant to be a production or a problem," David Powlison writes in the foreword. "And God is here, now. Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet. Paul Miller understands that."

I think he does, which is why sitting down with the book feels less like sitting down at the feet of someone who has all the answers and more like sharing a cup of tea with a friend who gets all the reasons I have for a dry or impatient or faith-lacking prayer life. I need to hear this book-friend's encouraging words.

"Come overwhelmed with life. Come with a wandering mind. Come messy."
"Don't be embarrassed by how needy your heart is and how much it needs to cry out for grace. Just start praying."
  "If you know that you, like Jesus, can't do life on your own, then prayer makes complete sense."

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