Book Recommendation from a Pastor
“A Praying Life” by Paul Miller
Recommendation by Pastor Wayne
COVID-19 has been a wake-up call to the world that we are not at all in control of our lives. With each passing day, we are left wondering when and how life will return to “normal” and when this pandemic will finally end. At the same time, as Christians we know that God is sovereign and actively working in and through all the circumstances in our lives for His glory and our good. But how do we make sense of life when it does not make sense?
With those thoughts, I highly recommend “A Praying Life” by Paul E. Miller. This book explores the ideas of what it means to pray helplessly like a child, what it means to trust Jesus in a world of cynicism, and how to live not in our story, but in our Father’s story. This resource also provides very practical and helpful suggestions on how to cultivate a life of prayer.
Here are a few quotes that I hope will encourage you towards a life of prayer during this season of uncertainty:
- “If God is sovereign, then he is in control of all the details of my life. If he is loving, then he is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If he is all-wise, then he’s not going to do everything I want because I don’t know what I need. If he is patient, then he is going to take time to do all this. Whenwe put all these things together – God’s sovereignty, love, wisdom, and patience – we have a divine story” (10).
- “The only way to come to God is by taking off any spiritual mask. The real you has to meet the real God. He is a person” (21).
- “When you stop trying to control your life and instead allow your anxieties and problems to bring you to God in prayer, you shift from worry to watching.You watch God weave his patterns in the story of your life. Instead of trying to be out front, designing your life, you realize you are inside God’s drama. As you wait, you begin to see him work, and your life begins to sparkle with wonder” (60).
- “God wants to do something bigger than simply answer my prayers. The act of praying draws God into my life and begins to change me, the pray-er, in subtle ways” (148).
Knowing who we belong to adds ballast to our soul during these desperate times. It is good to be a child of God and to be able to call him our Heavenly Father.
Sometimes it may be hard to see any good coming from this pandemic. Brett McCracken considers how God could be using the virus for the purity and growth of the church.
The coronavirus has affected all of us in different ways, but one common area is in our finances. Many of us are struggling with anxiety over money. Ed Welch helps us diagnosis our heart in order to address our worries and seek God.
Part of combating our anxiety over money is to think through ways we can be generous. While we may think of finances, generosity is so much more.
We may reason that social distancing prevents us from evangelizing the lost. Instead, the times have shown us the urgency and need of proclaiming the gospel.
It is so easy to focus on what we lack or what has been taken away. Instead, let these things catapult to all we have in Christ. Do not forfeit the lessons God wants to teach us by merely trying to survive this season. Meditate on His Word. Pray. Praise. These can’t be stolen.
This has been on repeat in our household. While the words are simple, the truth is profound. In light of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, in light of a pandemic that reminds all of us of how little, needy, and child-like we are, it is comforting to know Jesus is strong and kind.
Here are 14 hymns to plant us on solid theology and comfort the soul during COVID-19. There’s also a link at the top to join the Getty’s for a family hymn singing time every Tuesday at 6:15pm.
Speaking of family night of worship, Shane & Shane, put on a quarantine concert celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Give it a stream and sing along.
Amidst dark times, we have the opportunity to shine and reflect God’s light. In this video, H.B Charles Jr., Sinclair Ferguson, and Burk Parsons discuss how we can testify to the peace we have received from God.
Professor and theologian Don Whitney leads us in praying through a psalm a day. This is an excellent way to read Scripture and then to petition to God with His own Word.
Kevin DeYoung’s popular children’s book has been animated and you can stream it for free. There are helpful suggestions on how you might use the film for edification and evangelism.
Westminster Books has offered a great resource. “We’ve collected 15 of our favorite chapters that help us slow down and understand ourselves and our God in the midst of scary and uncertain times. These readings are available to download for free.” Included is a chapter from the book Pastor Gavin recommended last week.
John Piper has written a short book on the coronavirus and made it free for download. In it, he considers six biblical answers to the question on our minds, “What is God doing through the coronavirus?”