Philip Yancey

Does It Make Any Difference?

The latest offering from Philip Yancey is titled Prayer. Since I had enjoyed reading several of his previous titles I thought that Prayer may offer a refreshing insight on the subject. I had been doing a lot of thinking about prayer so why not add another Yancey offering to the subject?

To put it simply, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down, but it was a book that I looked forward to reading when I had time.

Prayer is not a manual, how to book on prayer. Similar to other Yancey offerings it is more of a journey through prayer with the author discussing the tough questions. I say discussing because that is what he does. Rather than trying to shove his opinions on prayer down our throats he lays out the good, bad and the mystery of prayer.

I noted many quotes that I really enjoyed in the book including the following.

“Jesus set the pattern for prayer as a continuous mode of friendship.”

“I am learning the difference between saying prayers, which is an activity, and praying, which is a soul attitude, a “lifting up of the mind to God” Praying in that sense can transform every task, from shoveling snow to defragmenting a computer’s hard disk.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances.

Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise.

….always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

I used to read such passages in a fog of guilt, imagining saints who prayed through the night , building up calluses on their knees. I read them differently now, not as a perpetual guilt trip but as a call to a Godward orientation. Prayer means keeping company with God who is already present. My very concern about the people and issues I pray for actually manifests God’s presence within me. I need not jump up and down like a child, shouting, “Look at me!” god is close by, if only I tune in.”

If you would like to explore prayer more deeply this book may be what you are looking for.

The chapters include:Our Deepest Longing
View from Above
Just As We Are
The God Who Is
Coming Together
Why Pray?
Wrestling Match
What Difference Does It Make?
Does Prayer Change God?
Ask, Seek, Knock
Yearning for Fluency
Prayer Grammar
The Sound of Silence
Unanswered Prayer: Whose Fault?
Unanswered Prayer: Living with the Mystery
Prayer and Physical Healing
What to Pray For
Prayer and Me
Prayer and Others
Prayer and God

Return from Prayer to the Avid Christian Book Reviews Page.