Does It Make Any Difference?
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There was a time, Genesis informs us, when God and Adam walked together in the garden and conversed as friends. Then, prayer was as natural as conversation with a colleague, or a lover.
And yet today, many of us echo the comments of this young college woman: “I’m not always sincere when I pray. Sometimes it seems forced, more like a ritual. I’m just repeating words. Does God hear those prayers? Should I keep going even though I have no confidence that I’m doing it right?” Pastors and ordinary Christians alike consistently rank prayer high in importance—and also high in frustration.
What is prayer? How does it work? And more importantly, does it work?
In his most powerful book since What’s So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey now takes a classic look at a classic subject. Prayer: Does It Make a Difference? is honest, thought-provoking, and motivating. It pushes beyond conventional treatments with the fresh, unique perspective that has become a Yancey trademark.
Yancey has the same questions about prayer that plague most everyone at some point. Is God listening?
Why should God care about me? If God knows everything, what’s the point of prayer? Why do answers to prayer seem so inconsistent, capricious? Why does God sometimes seem close and sometimes far? If God wants intimacy with us, why must we go through desert experiences where God remains silent and distant? Does prayer change God or change me? How can I make prayer more satisfying?
And he backs his answers with crystal-clear insights into the importance God places on prayer, and why we should value it. “In three years of active ministry, Jesus changed the moral landscape of the planet. For nearly two thousand years since, he has been using another tactic: prayer.” Ever the spiritual explorer and discoverer, Yancey takes us on a journey that can change our lives: “A man may ‘say his prayers’ at night or before meals, often repeating what he learned in childhood. His wife prays more conversationally, in bits and snatches during the day, but she too views God as distant and unapproachable, off in heaven somewhere. Neither has much sense of a God of love who wants an intimate involvement in their lives. And yet I have found that the most important purpose of prayer may be to let ourselves be loved by God ...”
Prayer: Does It Make a Difference? is an invitation to pray to a Father who sees what lies ahead of us and wants to commune with us, even to the extent of giving us influence with him. Yancey gives a convincing portrayal of a God who wants to know us for who we really are, who welcomes argument and struggle, and who invites us into an eternal partnership in his work—through prayer.
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