Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In reading A Praying Life(Miller, Paul E. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2009. Print.), one of the most convicting aspects of the book was its confrontation of cynicism in the life of the believer. Miller sees the cynical tendencies of North America as a major stumbling block to prayer. I agree with him; I have first hand experience with cynics. I see one in the mirror every day.

I often accuse others, not to their face mind you, of impure motives and believe they are working an angle. And yet, I attribute to myself the purest of motives and the integrity associated with authentic living.

Cynicism is a prayer killer. It jumps from "God will never do what I ask him" to "God did that in spite of my weak prayers and would have done it anyways".

This is a far cry from the reckless, passionate, child-like approach that Jesus takes in prayer. Perhaps that is why we are called to be child-like; cynicism is rarely found in young ones.

Consider this quote from A Praying Life:


Our personal struggles with cynicism and defeated weariness are reinforced by an increasing tendency toward perfectionism in American culture. Believing you have to have the perfect relationship, the perfect children, or a perfect body sets you up for a critical spirit, the breeding ground for cynicism. In the absence of perfection, we resort to spin-trying to make ourselves look good, unwittingly dividing ourselves into a public and private self. We cease to be real and become the subject of cynicism.

The media’s constant Monday-morning quarterbacking (“this shou1dn't have happened”) shapes our responses to the world, and we find ourselves demanding a pain-free, problem-free life. Our can-do attitude is turning into relentless self-centeredness.

Psychology’s tendency to hunt for hidden motives adds a new layer to our ability to judge and thus be cynical about what others are doing. No longer do people commit adultery out of lust-they have unmet longings that need to be fulfilled.

Cynicism is the air we breathe, and it is suffocating our hearts. Unless we become disciples of Jesus, this present evil age will first deaden and then destroy our prayer lives, not to mention our souls. Our only hope is to follow Jesus as he leads us out of cynicism. (82)

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