Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?

I can think of few authors who I would rather read on the subject of prayer. Philip Yancey has always struck me as a writer who would make a good journalist. Mr. Yancey also has a good deal of skepticism to him. The subtitle of his newest book on prayer reveals a little bit of this – Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? I often have wondered that myself. Mr. Yancey explores questions of, “Does prayer work? More personally, does it work the way we think it should? What can we really expect from prayer?” and many, many others.

I have often wanted to get to the point of agreeing with William James when he says “the reason why we pray is simply that we cannot help praying.” So I was quite looking forward to reading through Mr. Yancey’s findings. I was not disappointed with what I found. I have always enjoyed Mr. Yancey’s writing & honestly & find this book to be among his best.

Mr. Yancey breaks his book down into five parts,

  1. Keeping company with God – here Mr. Yancey speaks to the idea of spending time with God, issues of worthiness, and how prayer is a deep seeded longing in each of us.
  2. Unraveling the mysteries – who does prayer change, me or God? Why should we pray when God knows what we are going to say? Does it make any difference?
  3. The language of prayer – Mr. Yancey deals with silence, saying the “right” words and praying without ceasing.
  4. Prayer dilemmas – dealing with unanswered prayer, praying for healing & what even to pray for, Mr. Yancey offers some poignant answers.
  5. The practice of prayer – the effects of prayer on us, God & others.

This is no light-hearted book. It is thick & digs deep for truth on the subject of prayer. Mr. Yancey does not offer trite, off-the-cuff answers, but ones which I found immensely helpful in my own life & has made a difference in how I look at prayer as well as how I pray.

Mr. Yancey scourers through history finding thought on prayer from Teresa of Avila to C.S. Lewis to the pages of Scripture. I found this aspect helpful as well, not too familiar with the mystical tradition myself & seeing different lights shown on those of my tradition.

You can pick up a copy of this book from for 20% off.

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