Equipping missionaries for greater effectiveness must begin with the foundation – a rich and growing relationship with our Lord. A few months ago, I highlighted a book that enriched my personal devotions by showing me a simple method to journal – The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior by Wayne Cordeiro. Recently I finished reading another book that has re-energized my prayer life – A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller.
The author helped me to understand more clearly how essential a child-like attitude of dependency is. We need to learn helplessness when we come to God in prayer. Miller says,
‘When Jesus tells us to become like little children, he isn’t telling us to do anything he isn’t already doing. Jesus is, without question, the most dependent human being who ever lived. Because he can’t do life on his own, he prays.”
But as Miller points out, we don’t pray like Jesus prayed because we don’t believe that prayer makes much difference. The opposite of a childlike spirit is cynicism, and “cynicism is the air we breathe, and it is suffocating our hearts“. So, Part 2 (of 5) addresses the problem of cynicism and how we can learn to trust again.
Yes, missionaries struggle with prayer, just like any other Christians. We are also tempted to treat prayer as a nice option and end up doing life without prayer. We may even see prayer as something we feel obligated to do. Instead, we should see it as our very life of communication with our heavenly Father.
Practical applications and suggestions
This book is an enjoyable and easy read. It includes many illustrations of how God taught Paul Miller about prayer through the challenges he faced in his own family. I also found Miller’s practical suggestions helpful. I particularly appreciated his explanation of how we can track our prayer requests in other ways than just going through a list of names.
Rather than giving a more extensive review of this excellent book, let me recommend a thorough and helpful review on Tim Challies’ blog.
What books on prayer would you recommend to missionaries?