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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World
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A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  9,165 Ratings  ·  770 Reviews
Author Paul Miller shares his insights and conclusions about how to connect the broken pieces of your life and allow prayer—even poorly delivered—to fill the gaps with meaning and substance. Miller’s down-to-earth approach and practical nature will help you see that your relationship with God can grow and your communication with Him can get better. Parents will find Miller ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published May 29th 2009 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published 2009)
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May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Alexandra by: Staci Thomas, Randy Greenwald
Shelves: 2011, theology
I bought "A Praying Life" over a year ago. . . I respect the author and after the recommendations from a good friend and my pastor, I knew it was a "must read." But. . . I picked it up, put it down. . . picked it up, put it down. . . I even bought it for my mother-in-law, and still hadn't read it.

Now, over a year later, I finally read it. (The first book to be read on my birthday kindle!) And. . . wow. . . just what I needed at this point in my life. Unpretentious, Gospel-focused, practical. . .
I am very ambivalent about this book. While there are parts that I really enjoyed, there are other parts that really annoyed me.

I enjoyed learning about the author's autistic daughter Kim. He is very open with the struggles she has faced, and the prayers he has had for her over the years.

The author also says that Jesus' example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When Jesus prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father.

Yet then the author goes on to make it se
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf-spiritual
I wish I had read this book 30 years ago so that by now I would have re-read it several times. As faithful as I have tried to be to my spiritual habits, personal prayer has often eluded me and felt dry and mechanical. I've read books about it and talked to friends about it, but there was always a disconnect between the idea of prayer (and now I realize my misconceptions about prayer) and the reality of a regular prayer life. Paul Miller's gift in this book is to bring prayer into the realm of a ...more
Barnabas Piper
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book six stars I would. Maybe it was simply the right book for the right time in my life, but Paul Miller's insights into having a praying life are profound. He simplifies prayer to the point of extreme accessibility while simultaneously raising ones understanding and faith in a big, sovereign God. There isn't a Christian in the world who wouldn't benefit in some way from this book.
Nathan Moore
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm somewhat ambivalent about this book. Partly because many raving reviews led to high expectations on my part and partly because this is an odd book. The phrase that kept coming to my mind while I read it was "A Praying Memoir" for that's what it felt like. Though perhaps more often than necessary, Miller gave dozens of personal stories that gave the book a helpful, earthy feel. I appreciate the author's grittiness and willingness to take all the frustrations of a praying life seriously. The b ...more
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Without a doubt, I know the incredible and amazing power of prayer. I’ve witnessed it and have felt it, yet it’s still something I can always/need to deepen in my life. Anyone else out there like that? Well, recently my best friend got this for me and there were so many excellent pieces of wisdom, I had to share this one with y’all!

“Christians aren’t superior, but our Savior is. He makes the difference. He is alive and well in His church.”

Full of wisdom and examples from his own life, Miller isn
Bob Hayton
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
As a lifelong Christian, I've heard a great deal of teaching about prayer and read a good many books on the topic. I've been taught to model my prayers on The Lord's Prayer. I've learned the ACTS method (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). I've been encouraged to trust God for impossible answers, and above all, I've been made very aware of my spiritual shortcomings with regard to the discipline of regular, personal prayer.

Like many, I have tended to view prayer as a spiritual dis
Bill Stutzman
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
After hearing this book referenced in sermons from a few different pastors and friends, I added it to my reading list with modest hopes but not high expectations. I have long desired to grow in my prayer disciplines, but I am also wary of books I perceive to be "self-help" or systematic regarding such disciplines. There is no doubt that pitfalls abound in the genre, but Miller navigates the subject with wisdom and humility. As for me, I found my skepticism conquered by Miller's sound, sincere, a ...more
Abby Ophus
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, spirituality
Wonderful book on prayer. The stories about how God used prayer to transform him and his family were really beautiful. This book has been such a help and encouragement to me the past few months. I think I will keep revisiting it in the future.
Tori Samar
*Reread for Sunday School class at church. Review below definitely still applies, and I've updated some sections.*

By the time I reached the halfway point of A Praying Life, one phrase had come to my mind and ended up sticking with me for the rest of the book: paradigm shift. As of my writing this review, I have logged 579 books on my Goodreads 'Read' shelf [as of the reread, the number's up to 629!]. I have read books that challenged, educated, stretched, encouraged, fascinated, or even annoyed
Cara Putman
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a practical guide to prayer in the trenches of life. It will open your eyes to ways you can pray and truly surrender to God's will for your life. And the ways He will change you in the process.
Austin Fry
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A book on prayer that encourages through detailed personal testimony. The conviction to pray from this book feels loving and not like being hammered over the head about my lack of faith in God in my lack of prayer.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant book, transformative for my prayer life. This was my second time reading it - immediately following the first time!
Jun 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living, own
I really enjoyed reading this book. Paul Miller helped me reopen lines of communication with God that had become stale and stagnate. He says so much in a conversational way.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I learned so much about prayer and how to grow in it.
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honest read that got to the heart of prayer and had practical helps along the way.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was exactly what I needed and I will be reading it again some day. It addresses so many aspects of prayer that I struggle with and points me to look for the bigger story that God is writing.
Cydney Fletcher
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book feeling inspired to engage in my prayer life in a new way. Not only just feeling inspired, but I also felt equipped with practical steps to take to enhance my prayer life and make it a part of my daily life. Miller shares from the heart and from the Bible. This book is easy to understand, engaging, practical, and rich. I will definitely be reading this again.
Josh Igwe
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An engaging, honest and practical guide to developing a lifestyle of prayer. Will for now on be my top recommendation for those wanting to develop a deeper prayer life.
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book feels like an essential for the Christian life. Paul teaches not merely the action of prayer in this book, but the heart of it. Every time I pick it up I feel encouraged, and I have genuinely seen myself living a deeper life of prayer specifically because of this book. It is so helpful for all walks in prayer. Highly recommended!
Justin Lonas
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
In the barrage of output from Christian publishers large and small, some truly worthwhile books get lost in the shuffle. Some of these are hidden gems that just take a few years to gain the respect they deserve; others open to wide acclaim, and it just takes some of us a long, long time to recognize and read them. Paul Miller’s A Praying Life is in that second category for me.

I had heard about this book from various quarters for quite a while, but I wasn’t in a hurry to get a copy. Frankly, I’m
Luke Miller
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nothing exposes my spiritual apathy like evaluating my prayer life. Miller understands the challenges and excuses that we give for not praying, and he acknowledges them without letting us off the hook. Then, with truths rooted deeply in the prayers Jesus, the apostles, and the psalmists, he provides a way forward.

He makes you feel the weight of prayer by showing how essential it is to your spiritual life, family, and ministry. But then he helps you see that the burden is light if we remember tha
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nearly every Christian I know, and perhaps those of other faiths as well, feel they are rank beginners in this matter of prayer. It is not only the making of time and space for prayer in our lives but confronting the distractions we face when we pray, the struggle to figure out what we ought say, and wondering whether we will be heard--is anyone there?

I cannot say this was the best book on prayer I've read. I would give pride of place to Ole Hallesby's Prayer and John White's Daring to Draw Near
Demetrius Rogers
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
High performance, low pretension. That's what this book is to me.

Read it back in 2010, and picked up again this year and found it just as good and inspiring. Usually pragmatic books bore me. They seem too boxy, too predictable, perhaps, even too pretentious. But this book has a different feel to me. It's not flat and two-dimensional, it's pithy. And there's meat on the bones. And when I say meat I'm not just talking about proof texts - there's insight here. I love insight. There's depth here. D
Matt Bianco
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I had asked my pastor to recommend a book on prayer, this was the one he recommended. I had read others, like E.M. Bounds, George Mueller, and Rees Howells. My frustration with books on prayer is that they always seem impossible, impractical, and overly pious--something reserved for super saints, of whom I am not one.

Miller's book on prayer is nothing like that. In fact, he is clearly trying to paint a picture of prayer that is possible, that is practical, and that is something that any saint ca
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book! I’ve read several books on prayer, and they’re all valuable in different ways. I value C.S. Lewis’s Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer for its theological insights. Richard Foster’s Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home excels in its teaching about different kinds of prayer. And I’ve dipped in and out of E.M. Bounds’ collected volumes on prayer. But if I had only one book to recommend on prayer, I’d pick this one. This book stands out because of its practical wisdom s ...more
Rebecca Henderson
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book a couple of years ago, and I reread it this summer along with a friend -- and I will probably reread it again in the future. This is the most practical book on prayer I've read. It isn't about praying happy prayers and seeing God miraculously answer them twenty minutes later. It's about the hard prayers that go unanswered for years, the kind that cause us to dig deeper into faith and trust in God as He works out His plans in His timing. When I first read it, I was in a des ...more
Jasanna Czellar
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a fabulous book. There were a couple things I didn't 100% agree with, but if you're looking for a book about prayer, with a biblical perspective, to motivate you and give you a good foundation and direction...this is the book! Highly recommended. I don't keep many books after I read them, but this one will stay on my shelf for re-reading. It's one of those that you want to underline so many things in.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Took me a while to get through this book, not because it was slow or boring, but because I wanted to take my time with it -- meditating and applying it to my prayer life. Extremely helpful and practical, this book will come off my shelf from time to time whenever I need my prayer life refreshed. Highly recommend for those who want to work on praying or who simply need a refresher. Encouraging, thoughtful, and much needed.
Allison Anderson Armstrong
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-life
This book simplifies prayer and yet complicates it at the same time. Its complicated to be so simple sometimes, and the author stresses that we "little Christs" should be more honest, simple, and open with God, just like little children are. He also urges us to become more trusting, risky, diligent, and systematic with our prayers. I appreciate his balanced approach and didn't feel like he was condescending in any way. Easy to read (or listen to...:)
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“God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden...
The best gift of the desert is God's presence... The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey.”
“Cynicism creates a numbness toward life.

Cynicism begins with a wry assurance that everyone has an angle. Behind every silver lining is a cloud. The cynic is always observing, critiquing, but never engaging, loving, and hoping.


To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being "in the know," cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit.


Cynicism begins, oddly enough, with too much of the wrong kind of faith, with naive optimism or foolish confidence. At first glance, genuine faith and naive optimism appear identical since both foster confidence and hope.But the similarity is only surface deep.Genuine faith comes from knowing my heavenly Father loves, enjoys, and cares for me. Naive optimism is groundless. It is childlike trust without the loving Father.


Optimism in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the dark side of life.


Shattered optimism sets us up for the fall into defeated weariness and, eventually, cynicism. You'd think it would just leave us less optimistic, but we humans don't do neutral well. We go from seeing the bright side of everything to seeing the dark side of everything. We feel betrayed by life.


The movement from naive optimism to cynicism is the new American journey. In naive optimism we don't need to pray because everything is under control. In cynicism we can't pray because everything out of control, little is possible.

With the Good Shepherd no longer leading us through the valley of the shadow of death, we need something to maintain our sanity. Cynicism's ironic stance is a weak attempt to maintain a lighthearted equilibrium in a world gone mad.


Without the Good Shepherd, we are alone in a meaningless story. Weariness and fear leave us feeling overwhelmed, unable to move. Cynicism leaves us doubting, unable to dream. The combination shuts down our hearts, and we just show up for life, going through the motions.”
More quotes…