Notes and quotes from A Praying Life by Paul Miller.
1. Why do we never get around to praying? It’s because we don’t think prayer makes much difference.
2. “Our inability to pray comes from the Fall.”
3. We need to know what good prayer looks and feels like in order to develop a praying life.
4. “A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationships. It’s intimate and hints at eternity. We don’t think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with.”
5. Being a son or daughter of God means you have complete access to your heavenly Father through Jesus.
6. “Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.” Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God.
7. Ask like a child. What do children ask for? Everything and anything. How often do they ask? Repeatedly. Over and over again. How do they ask? They just say what is on their minds. But they do so supremely confident of their parents’ love and power. Instinctively they trust.
8. “Life crowds out prayer.”
9. “Jesus is, without question, the most dependent human being who ever lived. Because he can’t do life on his own, he prays. And he prays. And he prays… When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father.”
10. Jesus encourages us to pray in the privacy of our rooms, so our out loud praying doesn’t become a verbal show.
11. Praying out loud can be helpful because it keeps you from getting lost in your head.
12. “If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.”
13. 7 suggestions for praying in the morning: 1) Get to bed; 2) Get up; 3) Get awake; 4) Get a quiet place; 5) Get comfortable; 6) Get going; 7) Keep going.
14. “They have no wine” (John 2:3) – is a perfect description of prayer. Prayer is bringing your helplessness to Jesus.”
15. “Strong Christians do pray more, but they pray more because they realise how weak they are.”
16. Parenting tip: Speak less to the kids and more to God.
17. The Greek Orthodox Church still uses a simple fifth-century prayer sometimes called the Prayer of Jesus: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
18. By praying slowly through a portion of Scripture, you allow Scripture to shape your prayers.
19. James describes two dangers in asking. The first danger is Not Asking. James writes, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” The second danger is Asking Selfishly: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
20. “Thanksgiving looks reality in the face and rejoices at God’s care.”
21. Prayer is inseparable from obeying, loving, waiting, and suffering.
22. “The name of Jesus gives my prayers royal access. They get through. Jesus isn’t just the Saviour of my soul. He’s also the Saviour of my prayers. My prayers come before the throne of God as the prayers of Jesus.”
23. The bottom line is we don’t write down our prayer requests because we don’t take prayer seriously.
24. It is clear from Paul’s description of his prayer life in his letters that he regularly prayed for an enormous number of people. James Dunn, the New Testament scholar, wrote, “Paul must have had an extensive prayer list and presumably spent some time each day naming before God all his churches, colleagues, and supporters. This would help maintain and strengthen the sense of a faith shared with ‘all the saints.’”
25. “I’ll keep you in my prayers” is the easiest way to back away politely. Roughly translated it means, “I have every intention of praying for you, but because I’ve not written it down, it is likely I will never pray for it. But I say it because at this moment I do care, and it feels awkward to say nothing.”