Recently Peter and I took a walk together. We were talking about some trouble Penny’s had in school lately. Peter said, “Do you want to pray?” And so we did. It was easy, refreshing, and totally unusual for us.
After nearly two decades as a practicing Christian, I still have trouble with prayer. My mind wanders. It feels like a laundry list instead of a conversation. I wonder if it is a pointless exercise. And yet I also long for the intimacy that comes–in whispers and glimpses–on those rare occasions when I pray and then recognize God’s response.
I’ve written before that a friend of mine once said that prayer is kind of like sex. What she meant was that it’s hard to talk about with other people. If it’s good, it’s almost like bragging to share. If it’s bad (or non-existent), then it’s kind of embarrassing to admit. But I think prayer is also like sex in that it’s easy to come up with excuses not to do it (I’m too tired… There are too many distractions…) and yet it’s totally worth it. Moreover, it gets better the more you try.
So Peter and I are hoping to pray together more. And I’m hoping to remember again God’s sweetness and faithfulness to us through prayer. Thankfully, I was reminded this week of Paul Miller’s book, A Praying Life. I read it last year, and I highly recommend it (here’s my review from a year ago: “Prayer Is Stupid, Unless…”). Paul invites us to see our lives as a story that God is writing and prayer as the means of participating in that story. Prayer is a way to make meaning out of our lives. Paul has written a guest post for this blog before: The Wideness of Prayer, which includes a few paragraphs from his book. His wife Jill has also written a Perfectly Human post: Harm and Healing.
Not only do I recommend Paul’s book highly, I also just found out that it is available on Kindle as a FREE download. So if you have a Kindle, click here. If not, then I’d recommend paying for it anyway. Really. It’s worth it.