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Living Prayerfully

By Chad Smith

One of the best books I ever read about prayer was actually a travel memoir. The author, Jared Brock, traveled over 37,000 miles in one year. He went everywhere, from visiting a Westboro Baptist protest to vacationing in North Korea. He had a specific goal for his journey: to revive his prayer life.

The book is titled A Year of Living Prayerfully. Brock is an entertaining writer. I didn’t realize until halfway through that it is actually a textbook on prayer. As he tracks down different ways people try to connect with God, he sneaks in penetrating observations, such as,

“It had never occurred to me that a large part of my prayer life should be spent not talking.” (Page 185)

“100% of the prayers we don’t pray don’t get answered.”

“It took me many months to reach the conclusion that prayer works every single time only if you understand that prayer is a conversation. If your definition of prayer is ‘asking for things,’ then prayer will be intermittently disappointing and delightful, but ultimately confounding and frustrating. It won’t ‘work’ every time, and it will drive you absolutely nuts. Trust me.” (Page 210)

“Prayer isn’t about doing anything—it’s about becoming someone who does something.” (Page 270)

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.” (Page 308)

Okay, that last quote wasn’t Jared’s, it was Karl Barth. If you are looking for a way to revive your prayer life, I think you’ll be inspired by Brock’s journey. You probably can’t leave for a year and traipse around the world, so reading this book may be the next best thing.