Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?


Philip Yancey shares his thoughts about his book on prayer and talks about how his book transformed his personal prayer time.

Q. Why did you write a book about prayer?

I wrote Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? because I felt so bad about my prayer life. Surveys show that the vast majority of people pray at least sometimes. Yet if you’re like me, when you read books on prayer you end up feeling guilty and inferior. Few people I’ve talked to experience satisfaction in prayer.

I write books about questions I don’t know the answer to, issues that are still unresolved for me.  And I’ve waited a long time to tackle this subject of prayer, mainly because I didn’t know what to say.

Q, Did the process of writing the book change your own prayer life?

Yes, it did. I used to see prayer as a spiritual discipline, one of those things you’re supposed to do. Now I see it as a spiritual privilege, an opportunity to communicate with the Creator of the universe who loves me and gives me the ability to converse.

For me, prayer is not so much me setting out a shopping list of requests for God to consider as it is a way of “keeping company with God.” God encourages us to be totally honest about what is going on in our lives. As part of my research I studied each of the 650 prayers in the Bible, and their frankness and honesty stands out. We need to be honest with God and then get an honest portrait of what God is like. The best way to do that is to get to know Jesus. Prayer involves a two-way relationship in which we make ourselves known to God and get to know God.


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