I have recently experienced a season of dryness in prayer.
That is a difficult sentence to type. I feel what so many do, “If I say that out loud, people will think I’m a bad Christian.” Add to that, I’m a pastor! That is the darkness of pride talking, and it serves none of us well.
As I have prayed about my praying, and thought about my praying, one of my reactions to the dryness was to get help, which came in the form of a new book, A Praying Life. After just 76 pages, Paul Miller is quite simply tearing apart much of what my prayer life has become at the age of 40. Through his careful exegesis of both life and Scripture – with heavy leaning on the life, example, and teaching of Jesus – Miller gently introduces what is, probably for most of us, a whole new way to talk, commune, and live with our Father.
I would love to give you about 30 different quotes from this book, but I’ll give you just one. In a chapter entitled “Bending Your Heart To The Father,” Miller quotes Charles Hodge, a nineteenth-century Princeton theologian, who gives a tender example of continuous prayer.
In my childhood I came nearer to “Pray without ceasing” than in any other period of my life. As far back as I can remember, I had the habit of thanking God for everything I received, and asking him for everything I wanted. If I lost a book, or any of my playthings, I prayed that I might find it. I prayed walking along the streets, in school and out of school, whether playing or studying. I did not do this in obedience to any prescribed rule. It seemed natural. I thought of God as an everywhere present Being, full of kindness and love, who would not be offended if children talked to him. I knew he cared for sparrows. I was as cheerful and happy as the birds and acted as they did. (pgs. 71-72, emphasis mine)
Oh that we would properly understand this truth about God as our Father, and the kind of Father that he is, and that he wants us to talk and live with him in this manner! It is as J.I. Packer once said, “So much that goes wrong in the Christian life can be attributed to the fact that people do not understand him as Father.”
And let me agree with Mr. Packer again, who said of this book,
“Honest, realistic, mature, wise, deep. Warmly recommended.”