"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16

Review: A Praying Life

The book "A Praying Life" by Paul Miller is absolutely a tough reading for me. It took me longer than I thought it would take. No, it's not because Paul employed alot of theological jargons which we still have difficulties pronouncing, but because this book is so full of life that we cannot fully comprehend the writer's life experiences.

There is no lack of the absence of spiritual terms and tones, but the main theme of the book is clearly obvious that it is of the Spirit. Rarely do I find books that convey life, not to mention a book on prayer so I think, as such I will appreciate if Sola Scripture advocates can excuse me for my unapologetic praises.

The following was written in the introduction. The apostle Paul said this about how all true ministry works: "For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows" (2 Cor 1:5). I pray that through this book my relatively light suffering will overflow into your life as comfort, freeing you to touch the heart of God.

I cannot agree more with what was written. Only the crucified life has a fragrance of its kind that will lure the broken and only the crucified life has the ability to restore all things. Just as night precedes day in the Creation, death always precedes resurrection or life in God's timetable. There is a mysterious air about suffering which makes it more bearable and joyous for the sufferers.

As I do not wish to indulge you with the life experiences of Paul, I will highly recommend that you get a copy of the book yourself and start reading straight away. Personally, I think it make more sense in regards to the topic of prayer when one understands where Paul is coming from in real life. And that makes it more spiritually authentic. Nevertheless, the point on cynicism made by Paul is so important that I have reproduced a portion below.

"The opposite of a childlike spirit is a cynical spirit. Cynicism is, increasingly, the dominant spirit of our age. Personally, it is my greatest struggle in prayer. If I get an answer to prayer, sometimes I'll think, it would have happened anyway. Other times I'll try to pray but wonder if it makes any difference.

Many christians stand at the edge of cynicism, struggling with a defeated weariness. Their spirits have begun to deaden, but unlike the cynic, they've not lost hope. My friend Bryan summarized it this way: 'I think we have built up scar tissue from our frustrations, and we don't want to expose ourselves anymore. Fear constrains us.'

Cynicism and defeated weariness have this in common: They both question the active goodness of God on our behalf. Left unchallenged, their low-level doubt opens the door for bigger doubts. They've lost their childlike spirit and thus are unable to move toward their heavenly Father."

Indeed, cynicism is so prevalent that we are not spared from it either, provided we are honest enough to ourselves at least. Being able to recognise this and praying about it, is half the battle won. Overall, this is a must-have on the topic of prayer. In fact, I find this book so good that I am looking forward to getting my hands on Paul Miller's other book, Love Walked Among Us.

This review is part of NavPress Blogger Review Program, of which I have received a free review copy.