Sometimes a single line in a book is transformative.
"I’m actually managing my life through my daily prayer time," writes Paul Miller in his excellent book A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World. I've thought of prayer in a number of ways before, but never as the way in which I'm managing my life. Here's the sentence in its context:
PRAYER IS WHERE I do my best work as a husband, dad, worker, and friend. I’m aware of the weeds of unbelief in me and the struggles in others’ lives. The Holy Spirit puts his finger on issues that only he can solve.
I’m actually managing my life through my daily prayer time. I’m shaping my heart, my work, my family—in fact, everything that is dear to me—through prayer in fellowship with my heavenly Father. I’m doing that because I don’t have control over my heart and life or the hearts and lives of those around me. But God does.
Since reading this, I've begun to think of prayer as the best way to deal with pretty much any challenge I'm facing. It means that I'm praying about more things than before. It doesn't mean that prayer is all that I do; there's obviously still a role for action. But I'm taking that action more prayerfully, and there are times when there is no clear path to solving a problem except through prayer. No problem, though. When you manage your life through prayer, then prayer isn't the last resort. It's the first.
I'm grateful for A Praying Life. The whole book is excellent. But this one sentence alone is worth the price of the book for me. It's changing the way that I look at prayer, and the way that I live my life.