20 Quotes from A Praying Life

In A Praying Life, Paul Miller writes, Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God…. Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book. Getting to know a person, God, is the center” (20). While offering relatively little concerning the practical mechanics of prayer, Miller encourages readers to know God, to trust God, and to watch God at work in their lives and those around them. In approaching prayer this way, he inspires readers to commune with God in and out of the prayer closet with eyes wide open to savor the story their Father is scripting. Without further ado, here are 19 other favorite quotes of mine.

“Learning to pray doesn’t offer a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart.” (23)

“The only way to come to God is by taking off any spiritual mask. The real you has to meet the real God. He is a person…. Tell him where you are weary. If you don’t begin with where you are, then where you are will sneak in the back door. Your mind will wonder to where you are weary.” (33)

“If we think we can do life on our own, we will not take prayer seriously. Our failure to pray will always feel like something else — a lack of discipline or too many obligations.” (59)

“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 worrying 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)

“If Satan can’t stop you from praying, then he will try to rob the fruit of praying by dulling your soul.” (78)

“A praying life is just the opposite. It engages evil. It doesn’t take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God’s face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Prayer is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope.” (79)

“Disney is right. Because of the intrusion of a good God into an evil world, there are happy endings…. When you pray, you are touching the hopeful heart of God. When you know that, prayer becomes an adventure.” (86)

“Nothing undercuts cynicism more than a spirit of thankfulness. You begin to realize that your whole life is a gift…. Thanking God restores the natural order of our dependence on God. It enables us to see life as it really is.” (89)

“I often find that when God doesn’t answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me. Our prayers don’t exist in a world of their own. We are in dialogue with a personal, divine Spirit who wants to shape us as much as he wants to hear us.” (168)

“When we don’t receive what we pray for or desire, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t acting on our behalf. Rather, he’s weaving his story.” (187)

“The waiting that is the essence of faith provides the context for relationship. Faith and relationship are interwoven in dance. Everyone talks now about how prayer is a relationship, but often what people mean is having warm fuzzies with God. Nothing wrong with warm fuzzies, but relationships are far richer and more complex.” (191)

“Many of us wish God were more visible. We think that if we could see him better or know what is going on, then faith would come more easily. But if Jesus dominated the space and overwhelmed our vision, we would not be able to relate to him. Everyone who had a clear-eyed vision of God in the Bible fell down as if he were dead. It’s hard to relate to pure light.” (193)

“When we suffer, we long for God to speak clearly, to tell us the end of the story and, most of all, to show himself. But if he showed himself fully and immediately, if he answered all the questions, we’d never grow; we’d never emerge from our chrysalis because we’d be forever dependent.” (193-194)

“When the story isn’t going your way, ask yourself, What is God doing? Be on the lookout for strange gifts. God loves to surprise us with babies in swaddling clothes lying in mangers. Sometimes when we say ‘God is silent,’ what’s really going on is that he hasn’t told the story the way we wanted it told. He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with his own stories, the ones we live in, he is seldom silent.” (201)

“The gospel is Good News. Because God broke the power of evil at the cross, we can, along with Sarah, look at our cynicism and laugh. Not surprisingly, Jesus’ first miracle was making about 150 gallons of fine wine so a good party could become a great party (see John 2). Tragedy doesn’t have the last word. God saves the best for last.” (205)

“Praying [is] inseparable from working, planning, and good old-fashioned begging.” (209)

“The Father wants to draw us into the story of his Son. He doesn’t have a better story to tell, so he keeps retelling it in our lives.” (214)

“[D]on’t mindlessly drift through life on the American narcotic of busyness. If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.” (233)

“When I begin praying Christ into someone’s life, God often permits suffering in that person’s life. If Satan’s basic game plan is pride, seeking to draw us into his life of arrogance, then God’s basic game plan is humility, drawing us into the life of his Son… Suffering invites us to join his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. Once you see that, suffering is no longer strange.” (236)


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