The first book I will read this year, reflecting perhaps the deepest need in my personal spiritual life at present, is Paul Miller's A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Like many Christians, I find keeping a strong prayer life difficult. So, I resonated with these opening lines (from David Powlison's foreword):
"It's hard to pray. It's hard enough for many of us to make an honest request to a friend we trust for something we truly need. But when the request gets labeled 'praying' and the friend is termed 'God,' things often get very tangled up. You've heard the contorted syntax, formulaic phrases, meaningless repetition, vague nonrequests, pious tones of voice, and air of confusion. If you talked to your friends and family that way, they'd think you'd lost your mind! But you've probably talked that way to God. You've known people who treat prayer like a rabbit's foot for warding off bad luck and bringing goodies. You've known people who feel guilty because their quantity of prayer fails to meet some presumed standard. Maybe you are one of those people."
I am. So, I'm asking God to help me learn to pray and am hoping this book will be helpful in the process. I read the first two chapters this morning and was not disappointed. This book, so far, is not formulaic. It's real. And I put it down it wanting to read more . . . and wanting to pray more. Which is the whole point.