A Praying Life by Paul Miller

Books on prayer tend to veer in one of two directions. Some tend toward the instructional side, providing step by step ways to have a fruitful prayer life. Others drift toward being reflective in nature, meditative in tone, waxing poetic about relating to God on a philosophical level. Very seldom do you find a book on prayer that strikes the right balance between the two. 

Paul Miller's A Praying Life does an excellent job of doing exactly that. He offers a vision of a vibrant prayer life that isn't mechanical in nature nor esoteric in practice. Instead, Miller brings prayer back to its simplest form, a conversation between God and our own hearts that is rooted in gospel-centered truths. Before getting into techniques, he sets the stage by first having us pause on the reality of our spiritual adoption, the reality that God truly is our Father and we are His children. It's a necessity and one that we so often lose sight of when we consider how we relate to the Lord.

The section of the book that penetrated my heart the most was the three chapters on cynicism and how this attitude deters me from entering into real trust, hope, and faith in prayer. I've always had a cynical bent to my personality and how I've viewed the world. Time spent reflecting on this chapter ended up affecting not only my prayer life but my actual character in many ways. For me, this portion of the book alone made it worth reading.

When Miller does get into things that help him pray habitually, it's always connected to a deeper spiritual meaning than rote duty. He's also not militant in advising that everyone do what he does but only wants to share what has worked for him. More than anything, the book encourages you to develop a dynamic, daily prayer life entrenched and soaked in rich gospel truth. 

If you're looking to spark a dragging prayer life, need to spend more time with God, or simply want to know what it should look like to talk to God, A Praying Life will most certainly encourage you toward this.

Side note: If you're looking for a study guide to read along with or do this with others, I recommend this one from Vintage Church