Thursday, August 18, 2011

"A Praying Life" by Paul E. Miller

Well, I took my time reading this book over the past month or so. I would at times put it down for a bit and read something else (like "Uncle Tom's Cabin" which was wonderful by the way) and then come back to it. I think it is a slow read because prayer is an area of life worth some serious reflection. I found myself reflecting on my own prayer life and finding big flaws that were previously undiscovered. It was a very worthwhile and challenging book.

Throughout the book, Miller uses stories from his own family to illustrate points. While I don't typically care for books that use tons of stories (just the facts please!) in this case, it is actually quite helpful. All growing Christians experience prayer and have been taught on the basics of prayer. Sometimes it takes seeing specific examples of prayer to show us where we are quite weak and unbelieving.

I didn't personally agree with every point made in the book; there were several pages with big question marks on them and even refutation verses in some cases. But, as a whole every point he made had to do with having an authentic and intentional prayer life. Taking prayer seriously. Realizing how helpless we are without God's help. Realizing how much God can and will do for those who ask.

The book is long and not organized as a textbook, but rather in the flowing style of a devotional book. So, I would struggle to outline it - but I'll share a few quotes that were especially striking =

"You don't create intimacy, you make room for it. This is true whether you are talking about a spouse, a friend, or God...You can't just get to know God on the fly." p. 47

[to parents]"Until you are convinced you can't change your child's heart, you won't take prayer seriously." p.167

"We don't like God too close, especially if God is a deity we can't control. We have a primal fear of walking with God in the garden, naked, without clothing. We desperately want intimacy, but when it comes, we pull back, fearful of a God who is too personal, too pure. We're much more comfortable with God at a distance." p.117

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