One of the reasons I enjoyed A Praying Life so much is that it’s more than a book on prayer. It’s a book about Paul Miller’s normal (in other words, messy) life, and how prayer takes place in that context.
In A Praying Life, we discover that Miller is just as neck-deep in ordinary life as we are: lost contact lenses, children who misbehave, burnout, buying new cars, performance reviews, and more. I didn’t really need to read another treatise on prayer, but I sure needed to read how prayer takes place in the middle of the mess.
It reminds me of the time, many years ago now, when I had a pretty good grasp of robust theology, but not much experience with churches that blended robust theology with effective ministry. I didn’t need another theological book; I needed to see a real, ordinary church love truth and model effective ministry. Thank God, and I found a few, and I’m still finding more.
Don’t tell me the truth. Show me the truth. Show it to me in the messiness of kids throwing up, cars breaking down, bills that need paying, and houses that need cleaning. If you’re a pastor, show me your church as it loves imperfect people, reaches ordinary neighborhoods, and deals with irritated people, struggling marriages, and discouraged leaders. We don’t need perfect, but we need to see real church planters, real pastors, real marriages, real churches, real disciples, real men and women. And others need to see me being godly and real too.
Show me, and include your struggles too. I’ve read the treatise. I desperately need to see your life, and others do too.