‘Learned desperation is the heart of a praying life.’

Recently I have been re-reading Paul Miller’s book ‘A Praying Life’.Praying Life

I have been struck by two things: how good it is and how little I remember from the first time round.

This morning I was reading about Miller’s concept of an infinite-personal God. His hypothesis is that ‘our modern world is okay with an infinite God, as long as he doesn’t get too personal’. Quoting from various places in Scripture, he demonstrates how the God of the Bible is both infinite and personal – for example in Psalm 23:1 the words ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ speak of his majesty (he is the LORD) but at the same time his intimacy with us (he is my Shepherd). But, like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we are afraid of God getting too close. We shy away from that kind of intimacy. ‘We desperately want intimacy, but when it comes, we pull back, fearful of a God who is too personal, too pure.’

I don’t remember reading that first time round. That’s why I think perhaps one of my New Year resolutions needs to be the regular re-reading of this book…once a year? Perhaps once a month would be better.

‘A praying life opens itself to an infinite, searching God…..We can’t do that without releasing control, without constantly surrendering our will to God….Learned desperation is the heart of a praying life.’

I want to have a praying life – but do I want to make myself that vulnerable – to be desperate for God?


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