I (Kristin) was recently challenged by a friend to join her in setting aside an hour a day for prayer for 40 days. I took the challenge, excited to grow in my consistency and depth in prayer. As I entered into that hour each day, it quickly became apparent that I have a lot of hang ups in my prayer life. Wondering if things would just happen whether or not I prayed. Wondering how my small prayers could really turn around the dark spiritual climate of some middle-eastern country. Wondering if I was being selfish...or too petty...or not experiencing enough connection or emotion regarding the Lord. Maybe you've experienced some of these things too?
As the days went by, I often found myself starting out asking the Lord to show me how to pray, how to focus on Him alone and not the other tasks of the day. After a few weeks, I stumbled upon a book review of a book called A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. The subtitle was "Connecting with God in a Distracting World". Seemed about right. Now, I'm not going to say that this book has removed all my doubts and fully resolved all my hang ups, but it has addressed all of the issues I listed above and has given me refreshing perspective on connecting with God in our modernized world.
Here's a teaser from the first section, "Praying Like a Child":
'The difficulty of coming just as we are is that we are messy. And prayer makes it worse. When we slow down to pray, we are immediately confronted with how unspiritual we are, with how difficult it is to concentrate on God. We don't know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.' (pg. 28)
I haven't quite finished the book yet, but I know the last section is called 'Praying in the Real World'. I'm excited to see what other insights Miller has to offer as I continue on the journey of trusting and knowing the Lord more through prayer. If you want a challenging and refreshing read on prayer, I'd highly recommend this book.
On a personal level, Matt and I have decided to trust the Lord through prayer to complete our team of ministry partners by April 25. This would enable us to attend our region's annual staff conference as well as receive a summer assignment and start on campus in the fall. We're trusting God with this date and would be grateful if you would join us in prayer, as well. Blessings to you!