Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#37: Prayer – Does It Make Any Difference? (Philip Yancey)

It’s not often that I pick up a book on a subject like prayer and read it from cover to cover. I’m so thankful that I did just that with Philip Yancey’s book on the subject. My prayer life has improved while reading it and I have begun to understand prayer more intimately.  If you’ve been reading my personal blog, Livin’ Life, recently, you’ve seen how the book has touched me. (You can check out the posts related to prayer here and here.)

If I had to pinpoint the one point that most spoke to my heart, it would definitely be this truth:  prayer is not an activity we engage in out of duty or because God needs it. Prayer is authentic, real, honest communication with the Living God! It’s all about relationship. That’s such a basic concept of the Christian faith, but I think many of us miss the boat when we view prayer as a laborious duty we need to fulfill. I found Yancey’s closing of the book exciting and inspiring. While thinking about Heaven as described in the book of Revelation, Yancey has this to say about prayer:

Prayer itself will necessarily change [in Heaven] — not end, exactly, but realize its rightful place as conversation. Prayer now is a kind of awkward rehearsal, like talking on a mobile phone to someone in Africa, the connection garbled and staticky, the English broken and accented. God “has never acquiesced in the break which was brought about in Adam,” wrote Jacques Ellul. Indeed God has not. The entire Bible chronicles God’s effort to renew what was lost on that day in the garden when Adam hid and no longer conversed with God as a friend. One day we will all have that chance.

Sometimes I think about my first face-to-face conversation with God. I have so many unresolved questions, so many laments and regrets. Where should I begin? Various openings play out in my mind, until I remember with a start whom in fact I will be talking to, the One who spun out galaxies and created all that exists. Objections fade away, doubts dissolve, and I imagine myself falling back on words akin to Job’s:  “Oh, now I get it.” And then the conversation resumes.  (Yancey, 327-328)

Did I enjoy this book? Yes.  Do I agree with all of Yancey’s arguments? No. I especially have issues with his statements about Divine healing. Have I been challenged and experienced growth while reading it? Most certainly. It’s not important that we all agree about every aspect of prayer; what is important is that we pursue a conversation with the Father that daily becomes more and more intimate.

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