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Prayer

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  3,419 ratings  ·  251 reviews
Philip Yancey probes the very heartbeat---the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect---of your relationship with God in this Prayer Ebook. What is prayer? Does it change God's mind or ours---or both? This book is an invitation to communicate with God the Father, who invites you into an eternal partnership through prayer.
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Published September 9th 2008 by Zondervan (first published 2006)
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Inder
I've been running around with a book called "Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?" in my purse for six months. When people would ask what I was reading and carrying around, I'd shuffle my feet and change the subject, too embarrassed to pull it out and share.

But I'm going public with this, because it's a good book! I apologize if the fact that I sometimes read contemporary spiritual self-help books messes with my friends' much-too-high opinions of me.

Ahem.

Yancey writes so beautifully about the
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Kristen
Yancey is one of my favorite Christian authors. As a journalist, he writes to explore questions borne out of his own personal faith. He is unafraid to ask difficult questions and willing to admit that he does not always have the answers. His style draws the reader in and encourages them to journey with him, rather than trying to persuade them to a particular point of view.

I think this style works particularly well when tackling an issue as sensitive as prayer. Prayer is a fundamental part of the
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Jane Glen
Yes, I am finally finished this book. It is not something to gulp, but to chew on little bits at a time. I have underlined much and it will continue to be a go-to book for me. What I love about Yancey's writings is that he does not pretend to have all the answers. In fact, he candidly admits to many of thee questions and doubts we have, as well as sharing thoughts from letters he has received and from some of the great heroes of the Christian faith. They,too, have their struggles and questions. ...more
Katie
TL;DR paraphrase: "I actually have no idea, but I think yes, because [anecdotal evidence] and [quotes from the Bible], but only in certain situations and definitely not in any way that we can quantify." Which, actually, is the most honest answer I've ever had to this question. It's not a satisfying book, and it didn't suggest anything that I haven't already heard in my 30ish years within the evangelical Christian subculture, but yeah, I appreciate the candor. Sometimes "I don't know" is the only ...more
David Sarkies
This is the second Phillip Yancey book that I have read and I must admit that I found his style to be very confronting. Yancey doesn't pull any punches and he tells it like it is. In fact, he really seems to have his finger on the pulse of the human condition. In this book he tackles the subject of prayer, and it is not an easy subject to tackle, but he does it very well, and while not fully answering all the questions we may have, I must admit that I have come to understand the topic much bette ...more
mirela Darau
Quite dense and, as he calls it in the end, research-heavy!:) But worth the try and digestion! 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 loved it, loved the different points of view in it, the story - oasis, the str
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Daniel
Apr 30, 2008 Daniel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yancey fans, people needing a book to journey with them as they think about prayer
Yancey always delivers a solid book, he writes from his heart, thoughtfully and has a way with words shifts the readers' perspective just enough to get new insight on a topic. His books Disappointment with God and The Jesus I Never Knew are both favorites of mine.

So why the lower rating? I believe that Yancey retreads much ground that has already been tread. Maybe it reflects my current thoughts on prayer, but I'm currently drawn to books that exhort and get me to ask a lot of God. A book that
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Jennifer Zartman
I like to read Philip Yancey's books because he tackles hard questions and, as far as I can tell, comes to the aching void with an open heart and mind, seeking God's answers. Through prayer we approach the throne of the almighty God, so we should expect to have questions and to sometimes find the answers shrouded in mystery. Yancey doesn't claim complete enlightenment; he encourages us, as a fellow seeker, in the journey to find the answers ourselves. After reading it I took heart to pray boldly ...more
Keith
Prayer is a very typically Yancey book, honest and introspective. Yancey doesn't shy away from the hard questions about prayer or try to gloss over them with trite answers. He holds his mantle of champion of the doubting high here, and does not disappoint in his thoughtful and compassionate responses to those doubts. I love nearly all of his work and felt that this one was one of his best, along with What's So Amazing About Grace and Where is God When it Hurts.

The most important thing that I can
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Marie
Finally I finished this one! I liked it but it was not an easy read. Once again Yancey is completely thorough; this time though I think he was too thorough. I dog-eared a bunch of pages to quote but now all I think I really need to say is that I learned a lot about prayer, that it is a conversation with God. Yancey writes, "I learn I cannot "fix" the people I am praying for. I cannot get everything I want in the time frame I want. I must slow down and wait."
Also I liked that once again Yancey us
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Kate H
The answer is "maybe" and it takes the author 342 pages to get there. It took me two years to get through this book. Where was the editor?

Yes, prayer does make a difference: that would have been a better theme. Then the author could have discussed the difference it makes to the pray-er, those prayed for, and to G*d. He could have talked about different ways to pray without devoting several chapters to..."you can pray informally, like talking to a friend.." yes, I get it!

And then there is anothe
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Christina
This one took me more time than usual to finish. It is absolutely filled with thought-provoking questions and stories, as well as Yancey's own insights into this idea of prayer and if it matters. I felt challenged to step back and consider my prayer life. In the end, I felt comforted by the fact that we pray to a God who loves us, a Father who wants a relationship with us. There's not really a wrong way to go about praying, and yes, I believe it does make a difference.
Karol
Insightful. I think this book has already had a significant impact on my life, as I've thought about my conversations with God. I highly recommend to anyone who has questions about prayer. The author looks at why we should pray, even when God doesn't answer. Or doesn't answer in the way we would hope.
Greg
Sometimes depressing - left me with a feeling hopelessness about prayer midway through the book before pulling it out of the tailspin. Provocative, deep, sometimes depressing and sometimes hopeful, a compelling writing style never left me bored.
Dennis
Read it through slowly the first time. Wanted to absorb as much as possible. Now reading it again. Adding even more highlights. Yancey is relatable. You feel like he's walked in your shoes. Superb book and author.
Amy
Well-researched, a mostly centrist writer who draws from different parts of Christianity. It wanders and repeats a wee bit, but is mostly well done.
Paul
Loved his other stuff, couldn't get into this one.
Malbadeen
After reading this book I had more questions - I loved it!
John Martindale
"Prayer" seemed to drag more often the not, there was some good content scattered throughout, but it was hard to finish. I did appreciated his chapters on "Prayer Dilemmas." Yancey accurately (but far to briefly) encapsulated my frustrations and questions surrounding prayer, something no other book on prayer is going to even attempt. But like I said, this was to brief and his positive reflections on how to deal with these dilemmas, didn't strike me as insightful. His book "Disappointment with Go ...more
Andrew
This ranks right up there with "Disappointment With God" as one of Yancey's best, most honest investigative reflections into some of the mysteries of Christian faith. However, about two-thirds of the way through it seemed to be getting a little redundant in its thematic treatment of prayer and the difficulties and disappointments of people who pray. Yancey understands and struggles with prayer, and certainly sympathizes with others who also struggle: he tells their stories in a set of short sket ...more
Lisa
As the spring offering for my bible study group, Yancey's book was met with less enthusiasm than expected. A lot of us -- faith-filled women who have been enduring unusual hardships involving major, life-threatening health issues experienced by close family members (e.g., cancer, Alzheimer's, spinal surgery followed by life-threatening blood clots in the lungs, paralysis after a fall, and two deaths) -- really struggled with it. Had we not been so invested in one another's lives, it would have b ...more
Lillie
Philip Yancey describes prayer "not as my way of establishing God's presence, rather as my way of responding to God's presence that is a fact whether or not I can detect it." He also says that "we learn to pray by praying" and recommends spending concentrated extended time in prayer.God already knows everything in our hearts; He wants us to share our hearts with Him to deepen our relationship with Him. To realize the importance of prayer, we only have to look at the example of Jesus himself, who ...more
Michael
This book is like a mirror. Yancey reflects our faith about the GOD and belief related to prayers to us, and let us compare it to others' by using different life stories in the world. He conveys the varieties of prayers, and, ultimately, diversities of humanity. And, most of all, he tries to reveal the generous GOD who listens to our crying out and even unbearable small sigh. Like a puzzle, I found myself bringing each piece together to connect one another to see a big picture, the LORD.
Just li
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Ki
This one was definitely not gospel-lite. It covered the full range and gamut of the prayer experience, including the troubles and how people believe and pray in spite of/because of them.

It's mostly written in a very personal lyrical style--like some slightly sleepy professor talking about his view of prayer while sitting in front of a fire--but is broken up with poetry and stories from other people. The interruptions never detract, and often add to the whole experience.

It is an emotional read, a
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Mark Uncommon Valor
Etty Hillesum, the young Jewish girl who kept a journal during her stay at Auschwitz, wrote of an "uninterrupted dialogue" with God. She had epiphanies even in that morally barren place. "Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet on Your earth, my eyes raised towards Your Heaven, tears sometimes run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude." She knew the horror. "And I want to be there right in the thick of what people call horror and still be able to say:life is beauti ...more
Kelli
Prayer is hugely important. Its something that is often forgotten, and is only practiced when something bad is happening. But its a constant convo with the God who makes everything, and He wants to hear from us!! Thats the best news.
I feel like the book has the right idea. It has all the information but no passion about it. The things I have learned about prayer because I have prayed, are huge. I didn't need to read this to 'get' how cool prayer is. I just needed to start praying. The learning i
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Leeston Church

In his most powerful book since What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey probes the very heartbeat---the most fundamental, challenging, perplexing, and deeply rewarding aspect---of our relationship with God: prayer. What is prayer? How does it work? And more importantly, does it work? In theory, prayer is the essential human act, a priceless point of contact between us and the God of the universe. In practice, prayer is often frustrating, confusing, and fraught wi
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John
My favorite chapter was Chapter 14: "Tongue-tied." This chapter talks, in part, about distractions that come up while praying, and it was a great reassurance to me to know that great prayer warriors have dealt with distractions just like I do.
Teresa of Avila admitted to shaking the sand in her hourglass to make her hour of prayer go faster.
Martin Luther wrote of his own experiences, and added: "Resolve to pray earnestly, and no doubt you will see how large an assortment of your own thoughts will
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Kristen
After renewing this book 5 times, I finally finished it! My original purpose for getting the book was to help me persevere in prayer when I felt discouraged. It accomplished that goal within my first few sessions of reading, and I unfortunately set the book aside for a while.

The impending 5th (and final) library renewal deadline motivated me to plow through the last 125 pages, which were largely about unanswered prayer and physical healing.

This is a heavily researched book with no shortage of
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Deb
I spent all fall doing a study on prayer and then read this book by one of my favorite authors. His approach is so appealing in its honest grappling with serious questions of faith, and this book was no exception.

There was not much new ground covered here, although I'm sure I would've felt differently if I hadn't just done such an intense prayer study. Stories of prayer by all kinds of people sprinkled throughout the book helped to illustrate just how varied and multi-layered are our experience
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle: ...more
More about Philip Yancey...
What's So Amazing about Grace? The Jesus I Never Knew Where Is God When It Hurts? Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud Soul Survivor: How Thirteen Unlikely Mentors Helped My Faith Survive the Church

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“Prayer is not a means of removing the unknown and predictable elements in life, but rather a way of including the unknown and unpredictable in the outworking of the grace of God in our lives.” 8 likes
“God formed an alliance based on the world as it is, full of flaws, whereas prayer calls God to account for the world as it should be.” 5 likes
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