“IT’S HARD TO PRAY.” These are the first words written in the Forward to A Praying Life: Connecting with God In A Distracting World, by Paul E. Miller. They come from the pen, or more likely the keyboard, of David Pawlison, from the Christian Counselling and Educational Foundation. Those four words really struck a chord with me. Because that is exactly my sentiment when it comes to prayer. For something that ought to be so easy and available, the truth is, it’s hard.
From the book’s introduction all the way to the final chapter, Miller expands on this idea that prayer generally does not come easily or naturally. Mostly because of the presuppositions and misunderstandings that we carry with us into the process. He brings these points to life, largely from well described examples from his personal experience. But he is careful, and effectively so, to not leave the reader with the impression that this book is about him. Instead, he uses his difficulties and equally his times of satisfaction and “success” in prayer as helpful examples of what is possible for the reader.
The book is organized into 32 relatively short chapters, grouped into 5 parts. The titles of these 5 parts give a good indication of where the reader will be taken on their journey into an improved prayer life. The titles of these parts are:
Learning To Pray Like A Child
Learning To Trust Again
Learning To Ask Your Father
Living In Your Father’s Story
Praying In Real Life
The number of gems-of-wisdom that I underlined as I read this book would be far to many to even begin to excerpt in this blog. Instead, they serve as a serious encouragement to me to re-read this book in about a month and reclaim the findings once again. Reading a book a second time is unusual for me. But that’s how good, deep, and helpful this book is. Paul Miller successfully diagnoses many of the common problems we have with prayer, and offers very practical ways to overcome them. I am tremendously encouraged by what I have learned.
I have read several commendable books this year, but this one is by far and away the best. No matter how satisfied you think you are with your prayer life, I think this book is a MUST read. I can’t think of another book (apart from the most obvious one) that I can say that about.