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Home » Book Club Selections

A Praying Life: Discussion #8

Submitted by on January 16, 2012 – 4:00 pm4 Comments

This post covers chapter 12.

I believe that this is one of the most pivotal chapters in this book, so we’re going to take a whole session on it! Below are some questions to ponder and answer before you read the chapter.

  1. What is your greatest mental barrier to simply asking God for what you want?
  2. Is prayer feeling or fact?

After (or during) your reading of this chapter:

  1. How do you tend to approach the world: through a knowledge of facts or through your intuitions/feelings (or possibly both–but in what proportion)?
  2. Does the idea that “feelings are true only for me but facts are true for everyone” (page 104) resonate with you?  Do you buy the idea that you can feel that pornography is harmful, but that your neighbor can feel with equal force that he is not harmed by it, so it’s OK for him?
  3. Do feelings = values? If you think so, where does it say so in God’s Word?
  4. Note well what Miller is saying here: putting religion (and prayer) into the “feelings” category makes the claims of Christianity no longer universally true for all people. And if that is so, then God does not have a claim on people’s lives. What is the real truth about where the claims that God has on our lives come from?
  5. Here is a staggeringly important quotation, which sums up our message in Tapestry studies of Year 2, Unit 2, and following: “Secularism is a religious belief that grew out of the pride of human achievement, particularly scientific achievement. It masquerades as science or reality, [as] opposed to religion, which it calls opinion” (106). Think about your life over the last week? Were there situations where you never even thought of asking Father for help because, of course, the facts were… (you fill in the blank)… and religion just doesn’t touch on those facts? I did! The modern mindset permeates our worldview: we can guard against it but it’s almost always lurking!
  6. “Secularism doesn’t say that religion is not real. It defines it as not real. Once you’ve defined it as not real, then it isn’t even an item for discussion” (108). Wow. So true of the modern worldview. Do you feel hampered in your ability to share the gospel with the stranger sitting with you in the waiting room because, well, religion is personal, not real? In a hundred ways a day, God’s glory is obscured by this mindset. Take some time. Ponder. Where in your life does the secular definition of Christian truths mean that God is not honored as He deserves to be?
  7. Did the “by the way…” information that ends this chapter cause you to tear up? It does me. I am like that when I see God being exalted to a position that He should have held all along. There’s a deep sense of justice that comes with seeing the lies that so easily entangle our souls. What did you glean from this chapter? Care to share with us other children?

 

Below are links that will help you navigate the discussions easier. (You can also use the Archives section of this blog.)

Discussion #7 for this book.

Discussion #9 for this book.

4 Comments »

  • Ivette says:

    Hi, Marcia

    I have read the entire book and loved it. My main question is about “praying scripture”. How does one do that?

    • Marcia says:

      Hi!

      I’m sure not the authority on this, but I’ll tell you what I’ve been taught (by Donald Whitney, who came to our church about 20 years ago). Basically, you take a passage of Scripture and you use it to focus your prayers. So, for an example. If I take the first verses of Psalm 46 (psalms are the easiest places for me to draw from):

      Psalm 46:1-5 (ESV)
      “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
      Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
      though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
      though its waters roar and foam,
      though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

      There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
      the holy habitation of the Most High.
      God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
      God will help her when morning dawns.”

      If alone, I would take that first line and pray something like this: “Lord God, you know that I fear that Johnny (my fictitious son) will never conquer his sin of anger, and that this sin will pollute his whole life. Father God, YOU are my ONLY possible refuge–the place to which I can run with this. It does no good to tell him what I see: I’m just hardening him. But YOU are really a very PRESENT help in this time of a troubled spirit.

      Therefore I say to my soul: I will not fear, though all my fears come true! God is here; He is at work! He controls mountains and seas: His hand can direct Johnny’s heart where I never can!

      And at the end of the day, we will all stand on the banks of the New Jerusalem and drink from quiet streams! You are that stream, Jesus, who makes glad the city of God! Thank You that I am refreshed just sitting here drinking of truths that You remind me of as I meditate on Your Word. Help me to remain in these today and not be moved!

      Etc. Does that help?

      Now, to take it a step further, you might use a different psalm to lead your children in group prayer. A psalm about God’s care for the nations would be a good one. You read a line or two of the psalm, and then each person in a circle prays while focused on the ideas or truths that the psalm has suggested.

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