I Think Paul Miller Has Been Stalking Me

The Kindle version of Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World is free right now so I picked it up. I’m hardly into the first chapter and I feel like Miller has been inside my head when I try to pray. He pretty accurately described my prayer life. And, unless I’ve missed something, I think he may have diagnosed my problem as well:

A Visit To A Prayer Therapist

Let’s image that you see a prayer therapist to get your prayer life straightened out. The therapist says, “Let’s begin by look at your relationship with your heavenly Father. God said, ‘I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me’ (2 Corinthians 6:18). What does it mean that you are a son or daughter of God?”

You reply that it means you have complete access to your heavenly Father through Jesus. You have true intimacy, based not on how good you are but on the goodness of Jesus. Not only that, Jesus is your brother. You are a fellow heir with him.

The therapist smiles and says, “That is right. You’ve done a wonderful job of describing the doctrine of Sonship. Now tell me what it is like for you to be with your Father? What is it like to talk with him?”

You cautiously tell the therapist how difficult it is to be in your Father’s presence, even for a couple of minutes. Your mind wanders. You aren’t sure what to say. You wonder, Does prayer make any difference? Is God even there? Then you feel guilty for your doubts and just give up.

Your therapist tells you what you already suspect. “Your relationship with your heavenly Father is dysfunctional. You talk as if you have an intimate relationship, but you don’t. Theoretically, it is close. Practically, it is distant. You need help.”

Pray until you pray. – D. A. CarsonOkay, maybe not that bad but prayer is a struggle more often than not for me. I suspect it might be for you as well. Since I’ve only started the book I can’t tell yet if Miller has any good answers but at the least he’s nailed the problem. Just before this quote he talked about how busy and noisy our lives are and how filled with electronic distractions. Again, he hit me right where I am. It is a little creepy, like he’s watching me or something. Or, and this is more likely, many of us share the same problems and struggles and temptations in prayer and closeness to God.

I’m going to keep reading. I just hope Miller can offer some real help. I am currently trying to tame the internet beast in my life by doing things like reading. Maybe he can provide some incentive along those lines!

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