Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Praying Life

i just began the book, A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. Let me just's excellent. an easy read but so full of gracious truth and simple yet substantive encouragement for anyone. whether your prayer life is full & thriving or you cringe with inner condemnation at the current state of your times of communion with the Lord, this book provides a cool drink of refreshment to your soul. i personally can't put it down and already see how the Lord is speaking to my heart in this area that we all too often neglect amidst the swirling busyness of life. below are some excerpts that i pray are encouraging to you...

"American culture is probably the hardest place in the world to learn to pray. We are so busy that when we slow down to pray, we find it uncomfortable. We prize accomplishments, production. But prayer is nothing but talking to God. It feels useless, as if we are wasting time. Every bone in our bodies screams, 'Get to work'. "

Our best times together as a family are at dinner. At home after a meal, we push our dishes aside and linger over coffee or hot chocolate. We have no particular agenda; we simply enjoy one another. Listening, talking, laughing. If you experience the same thing with good friends or with family, you know it is a little touch of heaven. When Jesus describes the intimacy He wants with us, he talks about joining us for dinner. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.' (Rev. 3:20) A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It's intimate and hints at eternity. We don't think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God. Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God."

"Consequently, a praying life isn't something you accomplish in a year. It is a journey of a lifetime. The same is true of learning how to love your spouse or a good friend. You never stop this side of heaven. There is far too much depth in people to be able to capture love easily. Likewise, there is far too much depth in God to capture prayer easily...There is not one magic bullet but a thousand pinpricks that draw us into a spiritual journey or pilgrimage."

(about finding time to pray amidst the busyness of life): "If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love...and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer. By spending time with our Father in prayer, we integrate our lives with His, with what He is doing in us. Our lives become more coherent. They feel calmer, more ordered, even in the midst of confusion and pressure."

"A needy heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer."

"Jesus wants us to be without pretense when we come to Him in prayer."

(talking about how parents rejoice when their child reaches a milestone such as taking a first step or saying a first word): "...This is the gospel, the welcoming heart of God. God also cheers when we come to Him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, 'Come unto me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.' No, Jesus opens His arms to His needy children and says, 'Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28)


To God be the Glory! said...

Selah....Thank you dearest Lizzy.

Mimi said...

Love this book! I think it was one of my favorites last year and really ministered to me during a time of spiritual depression last year. A must read!

Bethany said...

They just had The Praying Life Conference out here.

I read the book....I think it was last year or the year before and it has been one of my most favorite books ever. I have been doing the cards ever since and I personally love how marked up they are because so many things have been answered and while I am still praying for other things it is encouraging to look back and see God's faithfulness or even how some of his answers were different than I expected but much better.....

J9 said...

I just got the Kindle version of this book for free on Amazon today. I came back here to check and see if it was the same one you talked about. Can't wait for the boys' naptime so I can check it out!