The Little Engine That (Thought it) Could

I’ve been reading Paul Miller’s A Praying Life and so far it is an excellent book. The following paragraph really stuck out to me:

Time in prayer makes you even more dependent on God because you don’t have as much time to get things done. Every minute spent in prayer is one less minute where you can be doing something “productive.” So the act of praying means that you have to rely more on God.

Now, I know this should be very basic and obvious, but sometimes we need to hear (or re-hear) the obvious. In reading about great prayer warriors who spend hours in prayer each day, I somehow had gotten the subconscious impression that God somehow miraculously added that time back to their day. A spiritual time-share program, if you will. I give God time, he gives me time back. The obvious never occurred to me that, as Miller said, each minute spent praying is taking away from doing something else.

But the point Miller is making and that I need to learn is that prayer is a dependency on God. Yes, I’ve acknowledged that, but I think it was more of a theoretical ideal – I still wanted to cut my prayer time short (or out altogether, to my shame) because of other things that I wanted to do and well, if I prayed, then I wouldn’t have time for the other stuff. In a sense, I was saying, “It’s okay, God, I’ve got this. I’m good.” And, like the little engine in the children’s stories, I attempt to plug my way up the mountain, all the while missing the blessing that comes from admitting my true dependence on the one who made, owns, and put the mountain there in order to draw me closer to himself.

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One Response

  1. Excellent post! The paragraph you highlighted was just what I needed.

    Thanks for posting this.

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