Best Parenting Book I’ve Read Lately: A Praying Life by Paul Miller


If I’m totally honest with myself, a book about the topic of prayer would typically make my eyes glaze over with boredom.  Or is it my heart glazed over with cynicism?

Don’t get me wrong.  I pray.  I believe in God.  In fact, I believe in a sovereign, personal, loving God who hears our prayers and answers them.  But, I frankly hadn’t given sustained thought about the why and how of prayer before reading A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World. Perhaps lurking beneath my boredom with the topic is a form a cynicism embedded in the heart of most red-blooded Americans, which Paul Miller sheds light on in one of the chapters.

Anyway, after the 106th person recommended this book to me (including Polly), I finally buried my boredom, cynicism, and pride and read it.  As my friend, Sam, said the other day about another book, “You know how some books are just a ‘game changer’ for you? Well, this one is that.”  That’s exactly how I feel about A Praying Life.  I’m fairly sure because of what I learned/am learning about praying from this book, I’m a better parent (and wife, friend, Christian, etc).

Miller weaves his own family’s story (he has six kids, one of whom is autistic) in with Biblical stories and principles about prayer, along with tons of practical application ideas. From why we should pray, to how to pray, to ways God answers prayer, this book covers it all.  But not in some rote, dry commentary-ish sort of way.  Instead, it’s an attractive, real and applicable treatise on the subject.

Perhaps most importantly, this book does not make you feel guilty!  Prayer is not one more thing to add to the Christian list.  No, no.  The biblical picture Miller paints of our loving Father who is full of grace and mercy, draws you to Him.  Miller encourages us to come to God just as we are–messy, selfish, weak.  God longs for us to come as little children would, asking without pretense.  This perspective is so freeing and inviting!

Finally, like my post title says, A Praying Life is the best parenting book I’ve read lately (although this one and this one are close runners up).  I’ll leave you with just one of the many principles I gleaned about parenting, among other “game changers”, to give you an idea of what to expect.

Miller claims that our best parenting is done “from our knees“.  Here’s what he writes,

“It took me seventeen years to realize I couldn’t parent on my own.  It was not a great spiritual insight, just a realistic observation.  If I didn’t pray deliberately and reflectively for the members of my family by name every morning, they’d kill one another.  I was incapable of getting inside their hearts…But even more, I couldn’t change my self-confident heart….As I began to pray regularly for the children, he began to work in their hearts…I did my best parenting by prayerI began to speak less to the kids and more to God.  It was actually quite relaxing” (p. 59, emphasis mine.)

Miller goes on to explain that when we pray, God not only works in the lives of those we pray for but He also changes us, the pray-er.  God exposes our own sin (which is often the same thing we are frustrated about in our kids!) and helps us to grow and begin to respond differently to our children.

This parenting point from the book just scratches the surface of the wisdom encapsulated in it.  I plan to re-read A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World again, with the hopes that it feels less like drinking from a fire hydrant the second time around.  Until then, Nathan (my husband) and I are trying to apply this take home parenting point–“speak less to the kids and more to God.”  Miller’s right…it is more relaxing.

Has anyone else read A Praying Life?  What did you appreciate about it or learn from it?

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Comments

  1. Angie says

    Love your blog and so much fun. Look forward to reading your new posts.

    Some books I would recumbent you checking out for parenting would be “Proverbs for parenting”, “don’t make me count to 3″ The heart of anger” they are awesome biblical parenting books. They are dead on on raising children to love and fear the Lord, hope you enjoy them if you get a chance to read them.

    • Rachel says

      Thanks for the suggestions, Angie. I have “Don’t Make Me Count to 3” on my nightstand right now. I haven’t heard of the others, but I will check them out. Glad you enjoy the blog! It’s our labor of love.

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  4. Ana DeArmond says

    I could not download the book. Can you help?
    Thanks

    • Rachel says

      Sorry, I’m not sure what you’re trying to download?

  5. rachel says

    YES! My husband and I have read this book this year, and we love love love it. It is a game-changer book, and we are readers… 🙂 I loved the sincere quote from his book that you included in your post; it rings in my ears each day… so thankful for this book, for Miller writing it, honest and upright. I mean, didn’t you love how, as you read it, you thought, I feel like this book could have been “written better” but also, at the end of many of the chapters, you had to put it down to let it all sink in, and then, by the end of the book, you thought, if you were like me, I need to go back and read this again (just like a good movie, where you cannot help but watch, and by the end, you think, let’s start it again, because I am only now getting this story!)… I have loved having the attitude from Miller’s book shape my prayer time with the Lord, and I am encouraged by your reaction to it definitely to go back through the book… thank you!

    • Rachel says

      Rachel – I agree with everything you said! And I need to go back and read this again for sure. What a humbling, refreshing and inspiring read! Thank you for stopping by and adding your thoughts. Have you read anything else recently that I should check out? Always up for a quality book or devotional that would encourage my faith.

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