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A Praying Life.

A Praying Life Book Review

I haven’t done a book review in a while, so I thought I’d share with you a book I’ve purposed to digest slowly over the course of the summer. I’ve read a lot of books on prayer over the past 20 years because it’s something I’ve always struggled to understand, and quite honestly, it’s something I’ve always struggled to do.

It has only been in the past five years that I’ve come to understand why it is that I have struggled so much with this spiritual discipline in my faith. As I have unpacked my story over the years, it is clear that it is the stronghold of independence in my life that keeps me from fully surrendering myself to a life of prayer.

Prayer is the ultimate vulnerability. God created us to be naked and unashamed before him.

At our core, we long to be one with Him, whether we recognize it or not, and our souls aren’t satisfied until we are.
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

I’ve known for years {YEARS} that I wasn’t really living “naked and unashamed” before the Lord. The best way I can describe it is a block. Do you know what I mean? I felt as close as I could possibly feel to the Lord, but not really. There always seemed to be a missing piece. A dissatisfaction.

I never really wanted to talk about it to anyone other than Andy and a few close friends, because I’m prideful. We’re in ministry, and I was convinced that I needed to have my act together, or at least die trying to look like I did!

I rock “continuous prayer.” You know, praying breath prayers all through the day, like Paul encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5. I convinced myself through the years that those prayers were enough, until I just knew that they weren’t. Deep down there was a nagging feeling that reminded me over and over that there was more. All the excuses and justifying in the world weren’t working anymore because CS Lewis knew what he was talking about when he said nothing in this world can satisfy.

Paul Miller wrote A Praying Life, and it’s one of the best books I’ve read on prayer because it’s an honest approach to understanding why we all struggle to pray. He breaks the book up into five parts: Learning to pray like a child, Learning to trust again, Learning to ask your Father, Living in your Father’s story, and Praying in real life. He candidly shares that he has learned to pray through his suffering. He shares story after story of how he has learned to survive and thrive in a world of stress and disappointment.
This book brings to life the truth found in 2 Corinthians 1:5:
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Suffering is the hang-up for most of us. We just don’t want any part of it. It’s painful and uncomfortable. Yet, it’s inevitable. It was part of Christ’s life, and it will most assuredly be part of our lives here on earth. I really believe that an intimate prayer life starts with honesty. We have to be honest about whatever it is that we feel like keeps us from fully trusting God when suffering and trials come our way. We have to let Him ask us the hard questions, and we have to allow him access to those places in us that seem determined to take care of ourselves. And, ultimately, we have to submit our wills and our hearts’ agendas to His will and His plan and trust that He is good and He is with us and He is for us. You know what else we have to do. We have to believe that He is able to raise dead things to life. We have to know that He always brings beauty from ashes.

When I look back at the amazing, miraculous work God has done in my own life over the past five years, so much of what he has done has been exactly what Paul Miller unpacked in these five parts of his book. Somehow, I’d like to share this summer how each part of his book mirrors my own story, so stay tuned for some kind of series.

Katie - This book sounds awesome. Definitely put it on my to read list. Years ago, I read Becky Tirabassi’s “Let Prayer Change Your Life.” I felt the same way about that book.

Tracy - I need this book! Wow, you are taking the words right out of my mouth. So glad you are back to blogging. You’ve been missed my friend. And HEY…good luck on Monday, you go girl!!! That’s awesome.

Caroline - That CS Lewis quote is my favorite of all time. I found your blog through something I had pinned on Pinterest. (distressed white table with glass bottles and the worded sign above it) I enjoyed reading!

Lisa - I have read and re read this book about 3 times. It is so good. Honesty in suffering is so necessary and very opposed by christian culture. I need to get this book out again.

Kristina - This is so true for my own life, thank you for sharing.

Maureen - So glad you are back! I have missed your wisdom

Starr - My copy arrived in my mailbox today! Can’t wait to start.

Linsey @ Bravehearted Beauty - Yet another book we’ve both read and loved. I’m pretty sure we could swap libraries and have almost the same books! This was a good one. xo

Lynn Richards - Sounds like a really solid, good book. Thanks for sharing about it. I’m looking forward to hearing more.
The book I’m devouring right now is by Bonnie Gray, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace”. I’ll have to pick up the one you are reading when I’m finished.

bluecottonmemory - Wonderful book review! I’m trying to build up a book selection in my thinking room for my growing boys to men – and I think this would be a good book to slip in there for all of us.

Grace White - This book offers a real-life approach to prayer for busy families and connect the broken pieces of our life to God. Thanks for reminding :)

Carolyn - I have recommended The Praying Life so many times! I always qualify it by saying that it is not just about prayer, it is about Life in Christ!

Denise - Tara – as usual you have written what I needed to hear. I too am a master of the “arrow” prayer. I can shoot those off quickly and easily. I will be looking for this book! Thank you.

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