A Praying Life Read Along Week 4

Whew, I almost missed the Monday deadline. Brad was out-of-town this weekend and I got lost in Pioneer Woman’s new fiction book.

A friend sent me this today – Like the book though for sure…just what I needed, I just hope I can not only retain what I’m reading, but put into practice??? Amen, sister!!

First question , how are you putting into practice what you are reading? For me, I am for sure praying little sentence prayers – saying a name, asking for “HELP!!’. I am working on not thinking I have to be so polished and professional about everything. Just pray!

Chapter 9 Understanding Cynicism – MY Favorite CHAPTER!!

“Many Christians stand at the edge of cynicism, struggling with a defeated weariness. Their spirits have begun to deaden, but unlike the cynic, they’ve not lost hope.” Have you struggled with defeating weariness – I HAVE!

“I think we have built up scar tissue from our frustrations, and we don’t want to expose ourselves anymore. Fear constrains us.” Oh man, this is me. I often don’t want to expose myself!

“Cynicism and defeated weariness have this in common: They both question the active goodness of God on our behalf. Left unchallenged, their low-level doubt opens the door for bigger doubt. They’ve lost their childlike spirit and thus are unable to move toward their heavenly Father.”

I could highlight this whole chapter. It need to read again and again.

Because cynicism sees what is “really going on,” it feels real, authentic. That gives cynicism an elite status since authenticity is one of the last remaining public virtues in our culture.” Somehow these dulled, partial truths often feel more real to me than the truths taught by Scripture. It is easier for me to feel skepticism and nothing than to feel deep passion. So cynicism takes root and ‘feels’ more real to me than truth.”

How do I change this??

“Unlike our parents, we never believed in anything. Our defining characteristic is cynicism. But that’s a double-edged sword. It protects you from crushing disappointment, but it paralyzes you from doing anything.”

“A praying life is just the opposite. It engages evil. It doesn’t take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God’s face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Prayer is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope.”

“If you add an overlay of prayer to a cynical or even weary heart, it feels phony. For the cynic, life is already phony; you feel as if you are just contributing to the mess.”  I am so like this – I am a cynic.

“I make the jump from optimism to darkness so quickly because I am not grounded in a deep, abiding faith that God is in the matter, no matter what the matter is. I am looking for pleasant results, not deeper realities.” I am usually looking for pleasant results.

Chapter 10 Following Jesus Out of Cynicism

Loved how he is putting this into practice for us. What a great chapter.

“I love it! I am not called to put on rose-colored glasses and see everything in life as pretty and good and uplifting. Rather, I am called to trust that God sees what I see. In fact, he sees beyond what I see. He sees the whole story and is completely trustworthy to be at work on a grand scale, in the minutia, and even in my own life.”

“Cynicism kills hope. The world of the cynic is fixed and immovable; the cynic believes we are swept along by forces greater than we are. Dreaming feels like so much foolishness. Risk becomes intolerable. Prayer feels pointless, as if we are talking to the wind. Why set ourselves and God up for failure?”

“I was reflecting on some answers to the previous day’s prayer, and I felt a lingering distaste in my soul. All I’d done was pray, and God had acted. It seemed too easy. Trite. I realized I was hunting for something to doubt. I was also hunting for something to do. At bottom, I didn’t like grace. I wanted to be a player in the way God answered my request. In fact, at that moment I didn’t like God. I was more comfortable with his distance.”
” Lewis was able to write such captivating children’s stories because he never lost his childlike spirit of wonder. The cynic is never fooled, so he is never delighted.” This struck me hard – I was trying to hard not to be fooled – I was missing the wonder.

The part where he showed us what life was like without the Shepherd – using Psalm 23. POWERFUL. Without the Shepherd we are left with lots of I, me and my’s!

“In the face of Adam and Eve’s evil, God takes up needle and thread and patiently sews fine leather clothing for them (see Genesis 3:21). He covers their divided, hiding selves with love. The same God permits his Son to be stripped naked so we could be clothed. God is not cynical in the face of evil. He loves.” How awesome is that??

“Cynics imagine they are disinterested observers on a quest for authenticity. They assume they are humble because they offer nothing. In fact, they feel deeply superior because they think they see through everything.

Chapter 11- Developing an Eye for Jesus

“Cynicism looks in the wrong direction. It looks for the cracks in Christianity instead of looking for the presence of Jesus. It is an orientation of the heart. The sixth cure for cynicism, then, is this: develop an eye for Jesus.” I want to have this eye – not the eye that sees everything wrong.”

“Instead of focusing on other people’s lack of integrity, on their split personalities, we need to focus on how Jesus is reshaping the church to be more like himself. We need to view the body of Christ with grace.”

“The very thing we are afraid of, our brokenness, is the door to our Father’s heart. A grace-saturated vision enables us to defeat cynicism and talk with our Father, restoring a childlike simplicity and wonder.” That is my prayer.


5 thoughts on “A Praying Life Read Along Week 4

  1. I think you quoted everything I highlighted. I don’t even know what to say, except that I NEED these chapters desperately. I’m rather shocked my own cynicism. I knew it was there, but I think it goes deeper than I knew. Once more, this hit me dead between the eyes.

    I think my prayers have changed since we started this, which is good. While I’m better with the one-word, one-sentence, sporadic, unplanned prayers, I know that I need to set aside time to be on my knees. I’m definitely lacking in that area. It’s going to take a greater effort than what I’ve {not} been extending. But this book is certainly challenging me in areas that I desperately needed.

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