Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools – Tyler Staton

Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools: An Invitation to the Wonder and Mystery of Prayer by Tyler Staton
Published by Zondervan on October 4, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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An invitation to an ordinary yet radical way of life, using historic Christian practices as both inspiring vision and practical instruction for how to encounter the wondrous, mysterious, living God through prayer. 
Prayer is the source of Jesus's most astonishing miracles and the subject of Jesus's most audacious promises, and yet, most people--even most Bible-believing Christians--find prayer to be boring, obligatory, disappointing, confusing, or, most often, all of the above. 
If you've ever felt this way, Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools is your invitation to trade your conceptions and misconceptions about prayer for prayer in its purest form: a vital, sustaining, powerful connection with God that is more real and alive than you could have ever imagined. In these pages, Tyler Staton--author, pastor, and national director of the 24/7 Prayer movement--addresses common roadblocks to prayer and gives you the confidence to come to God just as you are. 
Through biblical teaching, powerful storytelling, and insights on historic Christian practices, Staton helps you . . .
Express your doubts and disappointments about prayerDiscover and practice multiple postures of prayer, including silence, persistence, confession, and moreUnderstand and embrace the wonder and mystery of prayer in everyday lifeRealize that prayer is a powerful invitation to partner with God in the redemption of a fallen worldAnd, ultimately, open or reopen the line of communication with your Creator and experience afresh his divine power on earth

Prayer is simultaneously the most spiritually-rich discipline and the one most facetiously offered. We’ve all been on the end of an “I’ll pray for you” where we’re pretty sure no prayer ever happened. We’ve all heard “Thoughts and prayers” go up after any tragedy with no desire to actually create change to prevent future similar tragedies. The pushback against such facetious prayer offerings have been to challenge the efficacy or the primacy of prayer. But what if we actually did pray the way we claim—and live the way we pray?

Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools is a refreshing, revitalizing, whole-bodied examination of prayer that gets past the stereotypes and presents prayer in all its richness and simplicity—as a connection with the Creator. Author Tyler Staton knows prayer. He begins the book with the story of how prayer changed his life as a teenager. At age 13, Staton decided that he would know the “Jesus stuff” was true if he spent a summer practicing it. Every single day over the summer, he walked around the school with a directory in hand, praying for students. When the school year started, he began a Bible study on campus. By the end of that school year, approximately one-third of my eighth-grade class had come into relationship with Jesus in the darkness of the early morning, with all the atmosphere of hospital lighting, through the potentially heretical sermons of a thirteen-year-old skeptic. Today, Staton is in his 30s, pastors a church, and leads the 24/7 Prayer movement in the United States.

Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools isn’t just a “pastor book” developed out of a sermon series, repackaged to help build a brand. It’s the encapsulation of a life devoted to prayer, rich in Scripture, simple in explanation, motivational in exhortation, and passionate for others to leap into a life of prayer that lives with Jesus at the center. Again, the book’s central thesis is more than just prayer as words, more than just “giving it up to God” (so that we don’t have to act ourselves), and honest about the times it feels like God isn’t listening or when the prayed-for results don’t come to pass. And it’s more than exhortative. It’s practical. Each chapter leads readers in some practical action to develop a piece of their prayer life.

It’s an invitation into the wonder and mystery of prayer (as the subtitle says) that does not forget the practicality of this world. Staton invites us to pray; he invites us to be the answer to prayer. He encourages us to pray in lament, in anger, in despair, in hope, in praise, in thankfulness, in everything. He shows us how to prayer through silence and through action, through persistence, through confession. He opens up prayer as something more than just ritual, while also redeeming the value of ritual.

My personal preference would have been more of an emphasis on the practical. What does “living like fools” mean in this world? How might our prayer practices affect other areas of our lives? How are we called to be answers to prayer? But that preference is because my personal ministerial calling lies more on that side. Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools gives readers a challenging, thought-provoking guide into taking their prayer lives seriously and deepening their relationships with God through it.