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A Praying Life is an honest look at the difficulties of prayer, unanswered prayers, and successes in prayer.
Author Paul Miller shares his insights and conclusions about how to connect the broken pieces of your life and allow prayer—even poorly delivered—to fill the gaps with meaning and substance.
Miller's down-to-earth approach and practical nature will help you see that your relationship with God can grow and your communication with Him can get better.
Parents will find Miller's family-life experiences especially helpful.
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A SPIRITUAL TONIC
Hi Brother Paul
This is not intended as a review of your book A PRAYING LIFE which I have just finished reading. Rather it is my effort to share with you and family the spiritual tonic I derived from its pages.
In my infant class at a Methodist primary school, I was compelled to memorize Psalm 23. I have not realized the spiritual significant of this till I read this book. Becoming aware of my helplessness and need to depend entirely on the Almighty God of the Gospel could not have come to me at a more appropriate time than now. Thank you for this novel baptism.
Then your mom, our mother in the Lord made the book a divine treasure to me. “How else would you find a parking place” I’ve never been so spiritually stimulated by any single sentence as this. Not just because of its weight and resonance, but mainly by the source. You elaborate the need for us to be childlike in faith. At the middle of life, it is with great effort that we remain childlike. At the two extremes of life, this childlike manifestation becomes very natural. These two extremes are the infant and old age. At this two ends we naturally become childlike. Mom’s response is an expression of that involuntary but childlike absolute dependence of a child on her parents. It can only be found in a natural childlike life of the infant or the aged. It opened my eyes on how, when, and why to depend on God in prayers. Lord Jesus did not thank His father in Luke 10:21 because demons submitted to His disciples in His name but for their childlikeness; their excitement over an obvious. I can imagine the joy in heaven at mom’s response.
It will be an honor to have you take a look at my book RETURN TO SMITH WIGGLESWORTH if you’re kind enough to let me know what address to ask my publisher to send it to you.
Author of RETURN TO SMITH WIGGLESWORTH
7/20/2012 8:13:41 AM
flow of ideas
Good theology… Bad writing. I’m very disappointed because it is far too choppy. Get a co-author to smooth out (edit) your flow of ideas!
6/9/2012 9:16:41 AM
Practical, encouraging, and gospel-centered
This is the most practical and encouraging book on prayer I've ever read!
Most books on prayer tend to be academic in nature, focusing on it as a spiritual discipline, or method-focused, giving steps and methods to achieve a satisfying prayer experience. A Praying Life develops the premise that the goal is a praying life rather than concentrated, disciplined moments of communion with God at certain intervals. Much more than a spiritual discipline, it's a way of life. The foundation of this approach is to demonstrate how intertwined prayer and the gospel are. Our prayer life (or lack thereof) is motivated, informed, and sustained by our view of God and His role in our lives.
I love the God-focused, gospel-centeredness of this book. Rather than focusing on techniques and self-discipline, Miller points again and again to the gospel and our relationship with God as the key to our prayer life.
When we have a praying life, we become aware of and enter into the story God is weaving in our lives. A quieter, less busy life is not necessarily the goal. A quick glance through the Gospels will show that Jesus' life was anything but quiet!
Throughout the book, he uncovers many obstacles to prayer and rightly points out that lack of prayer reveals a lack of dependence on God. It's essential to recognize that, when it comes to prayer, helplessness equals power! Prayer parallels the gospel.
"The gospel, God's free gift of grace in Jesus, only works when we realize we don't have it all together. The same is true for prayer. The very thing we are allergic to-our helplessness-is what makes prayer work. It works because we are helpless. We can't do life on our own.
Prayer mirrors the gospel. In the gospel, the Father takes us as we are because of Jesus and gives us the gift of salvation. In prayer, the Father receives us as we are because of Jesus and gives us his gift of help. We look at the inadequacy of our praying and give up, thinking something is wrong with us. God looks at the adequacy of his Son and delights in our sloppy, meandering prayers! "(p. 55)
I've barely scratched the surface of the gold mine found in A Praying Life. Miller's writing style is encouraging and straightforward. The numerous personal stories from his own family, particularly his experiences with his autistic daughter, Kim, provide concrete examples of how this philosophy of prayer works out in real life while the visual aids and charts are helpful for visual learners. The practical ideas and methods in the last section give a great starting point without resorting to a legalistic attitude of prayer as simply a discipline to be mastered.
In short, this book makes a praying life seem attainable! It's one I'll be coming back to again and again. Get it. Read it. Apply it. I HIGHLY recommend it!
Thanks so much to Navpress for providing a review copy to me. All opinions are my own.
1/13/2011 10:32:46 AM
Connecting with God through the Grace of Prayer
A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World, Paul E. Miller; Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2009.
From NavPress in Colorado Springs, Colorado, here is a slam-dunk practical book on prayer. Far more than a treatise on prayer, or a list of dos and don’ts, this book by Paul Miller is one that will encourage you to let your life’s “rubber tires” touch the pavement, then fly along the road of personal conversation with God.
Miller shares many personal stories of how God has been teaching him about prayer – that it is earnest, childlike, believing, and even playful at times, not always sticking to one theme or topic, but sometimes bouncing around, even as a child’s conversation with a parent moves from one topic to another.
Perhaps one of the author’s best gifts is his ability to state the obvious in a memorable way (a goal to which every writer aspires). Here are but a few:
A praying life isn’t something you accomplish in a year. It is a journey of a lifetime. (p. 21)
Don’t try to get the prayer right; just tell God where you are and what’s on your mind. (p. 32)
It’s okay if your mind wanders or your prayers get interrupted. Don’t be embarrassed by how needy your heart is and how much it needs to cry out for grace. Just start praying. (p. 41)
Jesus follows the custom of praying out loud… Praying out loud can be helpful because it keeps you from getting lost in your head. It makes your thoughts concrete… Praying aloud is not a New Testament rule; it is just another way of being real in prayer. (p. 48)
It didn’t take me long to realize I did my best parenting by prayer… If we think we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously. (p. 59)
God customizes deserts for each of us… God takes everyone He loves through a desert… The still, dry air of the desert brings the sense of helplessness that is so crucial to the spirit of prayer… The desert becomes a window to the heart of God. He finally gets your attention because He’s the only game in town… The best gift of the desert is *God’s presence*… (pp. 184-185)
If you want “practical” and “prayer”, then “let your fingers do the walking” – via the Internet – to order a copy of this book for yourself! May God enable each of us to stay connected with Him – through the grace of prayer!
(originally posted Oct. 31, 2010)
12/27/2010 10:15:37 PM
A Praying Life
Prayer is definitely one of the most important parts of Christianity, but many devout followers view it as a tedious and difficult activity. Paul E. Miller’s A Praying Life (2009) teaches Christians how to make prayer the center of our lives. Prayer should not be forced and mechanical. Instead, Christians should be engaged in constant prayer as well as dedicated prayer time. Miller warns that this type of prayer requires persistent and patience to attain. In order for us to truly pray, we must do so in a childlike manner. That is, we must have the trust that children have in their parents.
Miller goes on to tackle some the most complicated areas of prayer. It is easy to keep faith when prayers are answered. However, when our prayers seem ignored, many people begin to lose faith. Miller argues that unanswered prayers are one of God’s ways to build and strengthen relationships with his children. If all of prayers were immediately answered, God would seem like an endless prayer vending machine. We would not take the time to reflect on God’s plan for our lives and stop focusing on our self-centered goals.
Miller’s A Praying Life is one the best books I have ever read on prayer. He shows readers what true prayer looks like. He even addresses smaller details such as choosing a proper location to pray. Miller brings his readers into his personal life by allowing us to read his own prayer requests. Instead of keeping a prayer list, Miller writes his prayers on cards. In addition to teaching readers this technique, he even includes some of his own cards in the book. Much of the book consists of stories from Miller’s own personal life. He includes his own doubts and troubles as well as his blessings. Each anecdote illustrates one of the aspects of prayer that Miller is explaining.
I highly recommend this book to others. It is aimed towards Christians who are skeptic about prayer. However, anyone wanting to strengthen their relationship with God should immediately read Miller’s book. Each of the short thirty-two chapters is assessable yet powerful.
11/3/2010 10:03:30 PM
A Much Needed Book
Paul Miller has written a great book on this most important of subjects. There are a lot excellent books on the market that deal with prayer and “A Praying Life” can safely be placed in that category. In 32 short, easy to read chapters, Miller challenges his readers to a deeper, more meaningful prayer life. This book is filled with stories (mostly from Miller’s family) that entertain but also help to illustrate his message. Miller shows us that prayer doesn’t have to be that dreaded exercise which Christian’s feel obligated to do, but never seem to actually follow through on. In a step by step manner, Miller takes us through the different dynamics of communicating with the Creator God. He is not afraid to address the tough questions about prayer, and shows us how certain roadblocks to “a praying life” can be overcome.
The book is comprised of an introduction followed by 5 different parts. Part 1: Learning to Pray Like A Child, Part 2: Learning to Trust Again, Part 3: Learning to Ask Your Father, Part 4: Living in Your Father’s Story, Part 5: Praying in Real Life. Time and time again, Miller offers excellent insights into the world of prayer, and shows how God uses prayer to shape our lives. Given the anemic condition of North American Christianity, we really need to go back to the basics and learn how to pray. The sad reality is that most professing Christians don’t have “a praying life.” While they might send up a prayer every now and then, they don’t have a dynamic relationship with their Heavenly Father which has been cultivated by prayer. This is where Miller’s book is desperately needed and I would highly recommend it.
10/13/2010 11:54:09 AM
The best book on prayer that I've read in a long time
I really, really enjoyed this book and thought it was one of the best prayer books I've read in years. This isn't a book that just lays out a procedure for how to pray and a formula of what to do and tells the reader how to follow it. Instead, it gets into the heart of a Christian and into the importance of prayer with topics such as praying like a child, learning to trust again, learning to ask your Father, and living in the Father's story. The book discusses some of the barriers to a good prayer life, like cynicism, trust, the influence of Western culture on our mindsets, and naive optimism (to name a few) and also talks about the role of prayer in developing a deep relationship with God. I found these chapters to be really thought-provoking and saw myself and my way of thinking in many of the discussions. Throughout all these chapters, the author continually shares stories from his own life- many about his adult daughter who suffers from autism, and shows how God has worked in his family over the years.
Only after the issues and challenges that face a believer in his or her prayer life have been thoroughly discussed does he get into the final section, praying in real life. In this section, the author makes some great suggestions about prayer tools. I'm especially intrigued by the idea of prayer cards, rather than a traditional prayer journal, and plan to implement that method immediately!
When I'm reading a book for review, I usually mark sections that I especially liked and want to talk about in the review. I got to the end of this book and looked down to realize that I'd flagged about one in ten pages. A bit much to share in this review! I think it really spoke to me because the author is so open and honest about his own struggles-in life and in his prayer, and was also honest about the work that God did in his life while he waited for his prayers to be answered.
I'll close with one of my favorite paragraphs, which I think sums up the general idea of this book so well.
"We don't need a praying life because that is our duty. That would wear thin quickly. We need time to be with our Father every day because every day our hearts and the hearts of those around us are overgrown with weeds. We need to reflect on our lives and engage God with the condition of our souls and the souls he has entrusted to our care or put in our paths. In a fallen world, these things do not come automatically."
If you're a Christian and would like a deeper, more intimate prayer life (and I think that category includes most of us), take a look at this wonderful book.
Disclosure: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
10/10/2010 8:01:05 PM
A Praying Life is a book that speaks to us, as Christians, and how we often only pray when we are in a dire situation or at our dinner time meal.
Prayerlessness, as the author calls it, is the cause for so many of us to live in fear, anxiety and and joylessness. In this book, Paul Miller reminds us to come before God first as little children would go to their father.
Also, this book stresses how helpful a prayer journal can be as well as prayer cards - all in the purpose of becoming closer to God.
I particularly appreciated the author's chapter on unanswered prayers; he shares a very personal story that touched my heart. Not all prayers are answered and those that aren't are part of Gods' plan.
This book is a very practical guide and would be perfect for bible groups, as well as individual readers.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
10/2/2010 1:56:02 PM
"The Power of a Praying Life"
“A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World”
By: Paul Miller
We all as Christians desire that “praying life”, and as Christians, it is part of our calling, and should be part of our daily walk with God. But for some Christians, somewhere along the way, they lose that special relationship with the Lord, that should be taking place daily.
I was given the opportunity to read the book, “A Praying Life”, by Paul Miller, and was very impressed with how the book was written with such an honest and humble attitude. Mr. Miller breaks it down very simply for us, stating that we must first come to the Father like little children, just as it does say in His word. He brings out how we should talk to God as we would talk to our best friend, and to how to praise Him, not to just have a program of prayer. He gives very simple and helpful tips, to bring the reader closer to the Lord in his or her walk with God, in their prayer lives.
I found the book very helpful for young Christians and for Christians wanting a “refresher” of sorts, in how to strengthen and improve their prayer life. This book is perfect for both individual and group studies. I believe it is never too late to improve your prayer life, and I am a firm believer in the power of prayer!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
9/29/2010 8:31:24 PM
A Praying Life, written by Paul E. Miller is for those believers who desire to know God in a fuller way by deepening their prayer life as it draws the reader into the heart and reality of prayer by reviewing frequent “prayer hang-ups” as well as common distractions. As I read this book, I was given many glimpses into the author’s own journey towards a fulfilling, joyful and vibrant prayer life through the personal examples of him and his family. I think many parents will be able to relate to his thoughts and struggles, particularly those who have a special-needs or developmentally delayed child.
I believe many readers will find his advice and directives towards the use of helpful prayer tools that he uses in his own life, such as building and keeping a prayer journal and compiling prayer cards. As a very visual person, I appreciated how he not only described these tools, but he also gave illustrated examples. I found this book to be informative and practical, perhaps because it was derived from notes used for his growing PrayerLife Seminar, which he began to encourage other believers to see the importance of prayer and the joy that it brings, and has also guided many to achieving it and strengthening it in their lives.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
8/27/2010 12:36:24 PM
Paul E. Miller's A Praying Life is the most practical prayer book that I've ever read on prayer. The application methods that you will receive in reading this book do require work on the readers part (what is easy about faith in "things unseen?") but the effort and methods are encouraging and life changing.
5/1/2010 6:35:47 AM
I listened to the audio version of this (www.christianaudio.com) and was blown away! More than another guilt-inducing "how to" book about prayer, it was a book about RELATIONSHIP with the Father & this makes all the difference in prayer! Suddenly, I found myself being freed from a cynical business-as-usual prayer life & free to pray with child-like faith, because this book helped me realize that I am His child!
2/16/2010 10:17:06 AM
Paul E. Miller has written an honest, down-to-earth, and extremely practical book. Right at the beginning, he identifies that the focus of the book is not prayer, but getting to know God. We have no problem communicating with someone we know and love! The tone of this book is one of encouragement. Prayer is not some ethereal concept or Olympic-level activity attainable only to professional pastors and theologians. God longs to hear the prayers of each of His children. There is no caveat of "Don't Try This At Home" attached to prayer.
The book opens with the section Learning to Pray Like a Child. This may be one of the most crucial aspects we need to learn and re-learn. I love how he says,
"Jesus does not say, 'Come to 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 to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:38, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy." (pp. 51-52)
He wants us as we are.
The book's subsequent sessions are Learning to Trust Again, Learning to Ask Your Father, Living in Your Father's Story, and Learning to Pray in Real Life. Illustrations from the life of his own family, including transparent sharing of difficult lessons he's learned, are scattered throughout and make this an authentic book rather than a dry theological tome. While I think most of the time we need to quit reading books ABOUT prayer and just pray, I recommend this book!
Mocha with Linda
10/25/2009 8:52:01 PM
Engaging, Transparent and Practical Book on Prayer
Paul Miller has written an engaging, transparent and practical book on prayer. His connection to his everyday life, filled with trials and tribulations (their daughter Kim struggles with autism and developmental delay). This 'real world' approach to prayer lends credibility and quality to the read. Enjoying prayer and our conversation with the Lord is what this book brings to one's life - returning to a close walk with the God who loves us. In his easy to read style, Miller encourages us to 'live in your Father's story.' By this he means “you can’t listen to God if you are isolated from a life of surrender that draws you into his story for your life.” In essence, this is what the five sections of this book does, using humor, pain and his real life adventures as a backdrop for our return into his presence. This may be one of the best books written on prayer in decades, since it combines sound Biblical truth and tested street leather application. I highly recommend this book and encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself and for a friend - this is a great book for a group journey deeper into God’s presence.
Dr. Matthew Lee Smith
8/18/2009 6:10:08 PM
Review: A Praying Life
The book "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller is absolutely a tough reading for me. It took me longer than I thought it would take. No, it's not because Paul employed alot of theological jargons which we still have difficulties to pronounce, but because this book is so full of life that we cannot fully comprehend the writer's life experiences.
There is no lack of the absence of spiritual terms and tones, but the main theme of the book is clearly obvious that it is of the Spirit. Rarely do I find books that convey life, not to mention a book on prayer so I think, as such I will appreciate if Sola Scripture advocates can excuse me for my unapologetic praises.
The following was written in the introduction. The apostle Paul said this about how all true ministry works: "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Cor 1:5). I pray that through this book my relatively light suffering will overflow into your life as comfort, freeing you to touch the heart of God.
I cannot agree more with what was written. Only the crucified life has a fragrance of its kind that will lure the broken and only the crucified life has the ability to restore all things. Just as night precedes day in the Creation, death always precedes resurrection or life in God's timetable. There is a mysterious air about suffering which makes it more bearable and joyous for the sufferers.
As I do not wish to indulge you with the life experiences of Paul, I will highly recommend that you get a copy of the book yourself and start reading straight away. Personally, I think it make more sense in regards to the topic of prayer when one understands where Paul is coming from in real life. And that makes it more spiritually authentic.
Overall, this is a must-have on the topic of prayer. In fact, I find this book so good that I am looking forward to getting my hands on Paul Miller's other book, Love Walked Among Us.
8/15/2009 12:19:57 PM
A book that makes me want to pray
Paul Miller acknowledges how hard it is for many Christians to pray. He starts with where I’m at now, and not with abstract reasons why I should be praying. Right off the bat, that makes me trust him. He satisfies the big questions I have about prayer (such as “Why does it matter?”), interweaving insights and truth with family stories that illustrate his points.
Miller tackles all the important aspects of prayer: our frustrations with it, how to relate to our Father like a child, barriers to connecting with Him (because of both our hearts and the world), how to integrate prayer with life, and practical ways to pray. Less importantly (but still nice), he writes clearly and in a down-to-earth, I’m-in-it-with-you tone that is pleasant to read. Refreshingly, he includes sections on the importance of asking for our daily bread, God’s kingdom to come, and His will to be done. He also talks about balancing listening to God through Scripture and through the Spirit.
This book is basic (in the best sense of the word) and offers a fresh perspective on making prayer an integral part of life. The bottom line is that this is one of the best books I’ve read on prayer (the other two are Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? By Philip Yancey and Prayer by Ole Hallesby). This conversation about prayer makes me want to pray.
8/9/2009 2:12:51 AM
This is absolutely the best book about prayer that I have ever read. I have read several books about prayer and how to pray. After reading each book, I never felt like I had learned anything life-changing or anything particularly memorable. That is not the case with this book!
The book does not give a certain "model" to go by or certain words or phrases to use when you pray. Instead, it addresses many attitudes and beliefs that can cause Christians to think that our prayers don't make a difference and don't change anything. The book explains why these attitudes and beliefs are incorrect.
Then, it moves on to guide the reader into changing the incorrect beliefs in order to allow accurate beliefs to replace them. It includes many examples from the author's life as well as from the Bible.
Toward the end of the book are included some prayer "helps" such as information on rayer cards and prayer journaling. The author also includes the importance of listening to God as well as talking to God when you pray. He stresses why we should both speak and listen to God in order to accurately communicate with Him.
The book uses real-life examples and practical wisdom and advice from beginning to end. While there are a few sections in the book that were not particularly exciting to me, I found that, over all, the it was very interesting to read. I definitely and enthusiastically recommend this book to those who want to learn more about improving their prayer lives and truly communicating with God.
8/7/2009 3:06:44 PM
In A Praying Life, Paul E. Miller explores how to pray. He discusses some barriers to effective prayer as well as giving some practical applications to overcome them. He uses his family and their personal experiences to illustrate his points. He begins with the principle that we need to learn to pray as children. He writes of the differences between adults and children and how this applies to prayer. Much of his writing is a personal challenge to set aside our adult mental/intellectual issues and embrace a Father who longs to have a relationship with His children.
The more I read this book, the more I liked it. The most important lesson I learned was you don't have to pray perfectly, you just need to pray. Adults tend to get caught up in the hows and whys, but we shouldn't. I also came to the conclusion that there are different types of praying and each has its purpose and time. This book has been a good addition to the stack of books on prayer that I've been studying through this year. This book will challenge you to be authentic with God and from there, He can do magnificent things.
7/19/2009 8:38:29 AM
The Best Book I've Read on Prayer!
Far more than a "how-to" method of praying, Paul Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World is a warm, compassionate and wise book. Filled with honest, personal revelations of less-than-perfect prayer times, I realized that I am not the only Christian fighting distractions when I pray or struggling in my own prayer life. What is more, I was inspired to persevere in prayer--and how to do so. The author shares his wisdom and experience learning to spend time with God, becoming transparent and vulnerable before Him, and learning to trust Him.
More than this, Miller reveals how our contemporary worldview affects our beliefs about how personal and approachable God really is. The author teaches how to truly abide in Christ and ask in His name. I learned how to look for God's working in my own and others' lives in response to my prayers. Finally, Miller offered some tools for praying and a caution that my relationship with God and communication with Him is the very heart of prayer--not the tools or method. He inspired me to snatch every opportunity to communicate with my God. Truly powerful, insightful and life-changing. Warmly recommended.
7/13/2009 9:57:12 PM