Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Review - Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference by Philip Yancey

The titles of Philip Yancey's books captivate me because he's asking the questions that are in my head. While in the library, I saw PRAYER in big, bold print on the spine of this book which immediately grabbed my attention; when I saw that it was by Philip Yancey (one of my favorite Christian authors), I knew I would be borrowing it.

If we're honest, I think many Christians struggle with prayer. We pray because it's how we communicate with God, but we know it goes deeper than this yet many of us don't grasp the more profound meaning. We struggle with why, how, where, what. Why are we praying? How do we pray? Where do we pray? What do we say? We wonder, are my prayers heard? Is my prayer making a difference?

What I appreciate about this book is the author's honesty. Despite his pedigree, he too struggles. Writing as a fellow pilgrim about that mysterious intersection where God and humanity meet and relate, Philip Yancey pushes beyond conventional treatments to
provide a fresh, unique perspective. The answers to the questions we struggle with are backed with crystal clear insights, many gleaned from the author's life, travels and research. By the end of this book, your eyes will be opened to the value of prayer, especially the importance God places on prayer.

This book highlights the authors desire to know God at another level. A consistent theme is that we are in partnership with God. We are in a relationship with Him. He values the time we seek and speak with Him. Adam talked with God daily, and they conversed as friends; Enoch walked faithfully with God and God took Him; David lamented and cried out to God. These are just a few examples from the Bible that are highlighted in this book. This book is also interspersed with examples of others, some famous, most not, who share what prayer means to them. It explores frustration and peace in prayer; the mysterious aspect of prayer; the benefit of a community of pray-ers; the posture of pray all with an intent of acknowledging the sovereignty of the One we pray to. This book also delves into unanswered prayers and provides a perspective for unprayed answers (one of my favorite phrases from this book).

"I may go through a period when it feels like God is absent, but if God were truly absent, everything in the universe would cease to exist. I have learned to recognize that I am going through a particular season, and try not to judge my reality based on how I'm feeling right now." This is a profound thought that more of us need to grasp.

"Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and the world's problems are ultimately God's, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world with a point of view that more resembles God's own. What is faith after all but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse?"

The book ends with a striking incident in the author's life that demonstrates the totality of the power of prayer. Through what most would consider a horrific accident, there were many God-incidences. The author questioned his circumstances but there was peace, there was healing, there was faith, all things expressed in the book that reinforced the difference pray makes.

The author knows that prayer makes a difference, to God, to you, and to your circumstances. I know the same and would recommend this book as a resource that you can turn to when you are going through a season of questioning.


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  1. Sounds like a wonderful book. Great review. I know that my experiences with prayer have allowed me to develop my relationship with God. Without it, our relationship really wouldn't be the same. Thanks for sharing at #heartandsoullinkup

  2. Nylse, I believe you're right when you say most of us struggle with our prayer life, no matter what our pedigree is, or isn't. I grew up in the same church as Philip Yancey. As a matter of fact, his mother led a Bible study where my grandmother was saved. That in-turn led to the church-going and salvation of a whole line of family members including my mother and ultimately myself. Small world. Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  3. I know it makes a difference, though I sometimes wondered as we all do. Coming underspiritual attick is proof of denting the enemy's camp.

  4. I love Philip Yancey but I have not read this one yet! I will have to put it on my list! Thank you for sharing this review! Visiting from #AtHeartEncouragement

  5. This sounds like a great book. It's so good when authors are able to share some of their struggles and help us see that we are not alone.

  6. I LOVE Philip Yancey, and am reading one of his older books right now: Reaching Out for the Invisible God. He certainly does a great job expressing his doubts and concerns and then following the path back to biblical responses.

  7. This sounds like a wonderful book on prayer. I find books about prayer so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your review on Grace & Truth this week.

  8. This wonderful post is a FAMILY feature on the June You're the STAR blog hop:


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