Prayer Cannot be Plan B
This evening I plan to finish “A Praying Life” by Paul Miller, which is without a doubt, the best book I have ever read on the subject on prayer. Miller gives many important principles regarding our prayer life, but one that helped me the most was understanding how cynicism (or doubt) affects our prayers.
Miller firmly believes that a major reason God doesn’t answer our prayers is we don’t believe He will answer them. This doubt isn’t revealed in a complete and total refusal to pray, but not placing our full trust in prayer. We often have a “plan B” to fall back on if prayer does not work.
This cynicism is on full display when we examine the intensity, and consistency of our prayers.
In other words….we are far too impatient with our prayers.
A world of convenience where most things are instant, or come within minutes has done great damage to our prayer life. We now expect God to answer our prayers that day, or at the latest that week. When the Lord doesn’t do this we move on to deal with the problem ourselves. Prayer may still be a part of the process, but it’s in the background as we take care of the problem.
Throughout “A Praying Life” Paul Miller explains how the Lord answered prayers that he prayed about for YEARS! He is very honest about the frustration when the God didn’t answer prayers on his schedule, but also gives many testimonies about the Lord meeting things in a spectacular way when we submit to His schedule.
While going through this book, the Lord has shown me how in many ways I’m cynical when it comes to prayer
- By coming to God with my requests and plans instead of submitting to His
- Not quieting the voice of doubt that Satan brings during prayer time (we must fight prayer)
- Not having a written system of prayer requests in place to remind me of prayer needs
- And by relying on continual prayer while doing other things instead of intensive prayer
May the Lord help us understand that prayer takes lots of hard work! But those who are remain faithful and don’t doubt will receive an incredible blessing.