Just over three years ago, A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World by Paul Miller came out to much fanfare. I remember Twitter was alive with quotes, and it seemed like everyone was reviewing the book. It seemed as if it was a game changer when it came to prayer for so many people. The publisher and marketing team did exactly what they were supposed to do, sell the book. They had tons of people talking about it, and rightfully so. The book has some amazing, challenging stories from Miller’s prayer life. I also challenged many of us to see that prayer was merely as an add-on to our Christian life.
With all of this said, I wonder how many people who read the book, were moved by it, were challenged to commit more time to prayer are actually doing what their hearts desired as they read the book? I wonder how many of them still feel extremely dry in their prayer life, because they have moved on. Now I am not saying that I have the answer, and I am not saying don’t read the book, I am simply attempting to make an argument for a new reading method of A Praying Life.
Always being a little late to the party, I did not start reading A Praying Life until last year, I think it was spring 2011. As I started reading through the book I quickly saw what everyone was talking about. Miller is a good author, he draws you in with his family stories and personal struggles to practice what he was preaching, or writing in this case. The content was also very helpful, but something was wrong. I was reading page after page, and the Spirit was calling me to do what I was reading. The problem was I wanted to get through the book. Yeah, I wanted to learn, but I also wanted to write a review, tweet out quotes, and knock this book off my reading list. In my effort to read the book, I was missing the point of the book. I was reading to get it done, not reading to bring about change. Some books can be read for reading’s sake, but many books need to be read differently.
With this in mind, I made a mental transition. I started slowly, methodically reading through A Praying Life, actually applying what I was reading as I was reading. Since I have made that change, I have seen great growth in my personal prayer life. It is almost like what Miller is saying actually works, there is a heart that is changing and it is mine. I am not sure if you have read Miller’s book or not, but I want to point out three reasons why if you have you might want to again, and if you are why you might want to slow down.
- The Content is Worth It - Miller packs this book with tons of great Biblical truth. Over and over again he causes my heart to delight in Jesus, and the good news that is ours through Jesus. If the content is that good, we should want to study it, spend time dwelling in and on it, and drink deep from it. It is a dishonor to blow through the book, unless the content is shallow, which it is not.
- Prayer takes Silence, Slowness and Commitment - Taking a slower approach to reading through this book is allowing me to actually practice what I need to do in my prayer life. Spending over a year in the book has helped me to slow down, not be all about my goals, and listen to the Spirit and what He is saying to me through the book, which is partly the point of prayer.
- Prayer is Important - Prayer is not a mere add-on to the Christian life, it is at the core of who we are. If God is our Father, and Jesus is our loving Savior, we should daily be spending time with them in communion with them and in conversation with them. This take time, and there are many different layers of excuses as to why we can’t pray. To peel these back takes a commitment, one that is worth it.
Now I don’t have a hard and fast plan as to how I am reading. Sometimes I read a whole chapter in one setting, sometimes a section within a chapter, or even a page or two. I am going into the reading process prayerful, and I am attempting to apply what I read, either as I am reading it, or within the next 24 hours. I am seeing some great growth, and I would love you to learn all you can from this great book.