I remember the moment vividly.
It was winter 2011. I was in Minneapolis at the Children Desiring God conference. My sister had called from Japan just after the tsunami had hit and before she and her husband left Tokyo to stay with my parents in Sydney.
As we talked, I milled around the bookstore and was drawn to one book in particular – Paul Miller’s A Praying Life.
On many levels, that moment was God-ordained. Throughout my Christian walk I had had some rich seasons of prayer but the norm of my prayer life – even when my devotional life was rich and full – was sporadic, distant, and clumsy. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was so often distracted, it didn’t seem worth it.
When I opened the pages of Paul Miller’s book – and listened to his talk at the Desiring God Pastor’s Conference – God turned the light on! Suddenly I saw that to not pray for my wife, my kids, my ministry partners, was to be unloving. I saw that prayerlessness was faithlessness.
In some senses, I was living a lie. No matter what I said from the pulpit, in my small group, in every day conversation, my prayer life was revealing that I did not trust God. I was preaching about a sovereign God but I wasn’t praying to one.
Miller’s book wasn’t like other books on prayer. It was certainly convicting, but it was also richly practical. It’s not only the best book I’ve read on prayer, it’s also one of the most influential books on parenting.
God used that moment in 2011 to bring change in our family ministry team – and our church. I picked up a box of more than 50 of the books and put them in the hands of our volunteer team. Many Ambassador small groups went through the book using the discussion guide.
Over the last three years, God has established a rich prayerfulness in my life, my family, and my church. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful and I pray (really pray!) that God would deepen it in the months and years to come.
That is why we mean it when we say “the most practical thing you can do for us…is pray!” We desperately need the prayers of God’s people because we need regular reminders that we depend on God.
I commend Miller’s book to everyone who hasn’t read it! You won’t regret it!