Friday, July 29, 2011

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

I recently just finished reading this book about prayer and I highly suggest you read it.  I really struggle making time for prayer for a lot of different reasons and Paul Miller touches on every single reason why I struggle.   It turns out that he struggled with the same things as I struggle with!  I haven't perfected my prayer life, not even close but this book has definitely helped out.  I know I'll be re-reading this book.
Here are some, a lot actually, of my favorite quotes from the book:

-"Since a praying life is interconnected with every part of our lives, learning to pray is almost identical to maturing over a lifetime.  What does it feel like to grow up?  it is a thousand feelings on a thousand different days.  That is what learning to pray feels like.  So don't hunt for a feeling in prayer.  Deep in our psyches we want an experience with God or and experience in prayer.  Once we make that our quest, we lose God.  You don't experience God; you get to know Him.  You submit to Him.  You enjoy Him.  He is, after all, a person."  p, 21

-"The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self-absorbed, focused on my quiet and me.  If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy.  Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart."  23

-"The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy.  And prayer makes it worse.  When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God.  We don't know how bad we are until we try to be good.  Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer" 31

-"If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.  You'll always be a little too tired, a little too busy.  But if, like Jesus, you realize you can't do life on your own, then no matter how busy, no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray."  49

-"You don't need self-discipline to pray continuously; you just need to be poor in spirit."  65

-"A praying life isn't simply a morning prayer time; it is about slipping into prayer at odd hours of the day, not because we are disciplined but because we are in touch with our own poverty of spirit, realizing that we can't even walk through a mall or our neighborhood without the help of the Spirit of Jesus." 68

-"When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching.  you watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life.  Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God's drama.  As you wait, you begin to see him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder.  You are learning to trust again." 73

-"Thankfulness isn't a matter of forcing yourself to see the happy side of life.... Thanking God restores the natural order of our dependence on God.  It enables us to see life as it really is" 89.

-"If you are going to enter this divine dance we call prayer, you have to surrender your desire to be in control, to figure out how prayer works." 128

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