Book Review: A Praying Life
by Paul Miller
Review by Audrea Gray
When I was given Paul Miller’s, A Praying Life, I wasn’t really sure I needed to read another book on prayer. However, from the opening pages, I quickly realized this book was different. Not a treatise on prayer, A Praying Life presents an honest discussion of why we often struggle to pray and how to grow in our relationship with the Lord through prayer.
Miller begins by directly confronting our obstacles to a praying life - doubt, a wandering mind, weariness, busyness, cynicism. He does this without condemnation, sharing personal stories of his own missteps and struggles. Often with the tone of a father or big brother, he encourages us to approach prayer as a child, without much to offer and free of pretense.
That foundation laid, he challenges us to pray about everything, no matter how small, providing valuable insight on Jesus’ extravagant promises on prayer such as, “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Miller teaches us the beautiful harmony of honestly asking for anything while surrendering to God's will.
The most impactful section may be the consideration of prayer as creating the energy for the larger story that God is weaving in our life. It is here that Miller directly addresses the issues of waiting long for answers to our prayers and completely unanswered prayers. He reminds us that every good story has tension and that "gospel stories always have suffering in them." But if we will pray intent to live in our Father's story then we won't "demand that the story go [our] way, we will look for his hand. . . [praying] in light of what [we] are seeing" and we will "stay in the story. . .not [shutting] down when circumstances go the wrong way."
I found A Praying Life to be an honest, straight forward discussion on prayer that can enrich the spiritual life of the new believer and seasoned saint. As someone who has wrestled with wanting to know how prayer works and why at times prayer doesn't seem to work at all, Miller's insights were a wonderful gift.