Yancey writes so beautifully about the discipline of contemplation and prayer - he makes me want to join a monastary (not a nunnery, nuns don't train dogs and that's my other favorite part of monk life). "Does he answer he question?" you ask, "Does prayer make any difference?" Well, if "um, maybe?" is an answer, he answers it. If you ever feel like picking up a contemporary spiritual self-help book, I recommend this one.
Prayer is a fundamental part of the Christian faith, and yet (certainly in my personal experience) it's incredibly difficult to practice. Yancey's treatment of prayer is thorough and nuanced, recognizing it as something that is both incredibly personal and yet common to millions world-wide and throughout history.
As Yancey does in his other books, he takes the questions and objections of others seriously, and admits to his own doubts and struggles. For that reason, this book may be more in tune with the Christian who wonders how God didnt seem to answer a cry for help or healing. The other assertion some Christians make is that prayer is how you get to know God. Not: pray and learn about God from how He answers your prayers. Yancey makes this assertion at the beginning of Chapter 5: The main purpose of prayer not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. Isnt prayer our side of the conversation with God? Yancey admits that he has not heard Gods audible voice. Again, I admit that Yancey doesnt define prayer as God talking to us as we talk to Him. He quotes Tim Staffords book Knowing the Face of God, I am cautious in interpreting my impulses and feelings as messages from God. I do not want to take the Lords name in vain. (Page 56) He talks about the experience of prayer as learning to speak to God about the world from His perspective, aligning our will with His as we pray. While I have a couple of other favorites, I would recommend this book to anyone who, having been deeply harmed by someone, has a spiritual struggle or feels estranged from God. Ive not encountered a book that takes this pain as seriously as this book, and provides helpful and healing responses directed at hearts that have been betrayed.
This is a book that is simultaneously comprehensive in its research but personal in its telling. Throughout the book he shows real, relatable, day-to-day challenges to establishing and maintaining a fulfilling prayer life. Which of us can claim to have an outstanding prayer life? Is there any point praying to an omniscient God who knows your requests beforehand? One of the issues that Yancey covers is what is an outstanding prayer life? Yancey covers interesting topics about prayer. The short answer is that God values honesty. Be Yourself Speaking for myself, it can be a little intimidating when you hear the testimonies of those who have wonderful prayer lives. The back of the book lists several resources that he references and that we can find useful as we develop our prayer walk. This is a wonderful, life-changing book.
So what it boils down to for me is this: For some amazing reason, God actually desires a relationship with me, and the way to further that relationship is through communication, i.e. prayer. He outlines for us in the Lord's Prayer how we might pray. For me, I'm glad it isn't all up to me and that we do have a God to trust, who knows what is best.
It comprises several intellectual approaches on prayer, pertinent questions and a willingness to understand and know, just to end up every time admitting that we know partly and that to understand God (if there is such a thing), another kind of perception is needed, and there is always a dose of mistery that must live with. I cut thus short what God wants from me that I make known my requests, and in doing so I make known myself. Rather, I should deliver those feelings, stripped bare, to God. As the book of Job, Jeremiah and Habakkuk clearly show, God has a high threshold of tolerance for what is appropriate to say in a prayer. Each of us presents a uniques mix of personality, outlook, training, gifts and weaknesses, as well as a unique history with church and with God.As Roberta Bondi says, 'if you are praying, you are already "doing it right"'. It is as though God knows there are questions underneath my questionsand those are the ones He answers. I found instead a realistic faith that developed as a by-product of pending time with God -> and I'm also here now..:) good to know I'm not the only one! And then -we'll see..' C.S.Lewis If you want to see God smile, tell him your plans. N o w , a fleeting instant, represents the intersection of eternity with time -> i need more of this perspective, cause i tend to live very little in the present and therefore am oblivious of many things lately. Praying for those whom i lovegives me a glimpse of how God must feel. 295 I try to be as specific as possible, praying.. I ask that God will use my love and concern, my prayer, to help bring about the good that we both desire.
In 1978 Philip Yancey became a full-time writer, initially working as a journalist for such varied publications as Readers Digest, Publishers Weekly, National Wildlife, Christian Century and The Reformed Journal. His twenty-five books include Where Is God When It Hurts, The Student Bible, and Disappointment with God. These books have won thirteen Gold Medallion Awards from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and have sold more than fifteen million copies.