Prayer by Philip Yancey

"Prayer is universal because it speaks to some basic human need"

I like exploring the basic fundamentals of Christianity. One aspect of Christianity that has always puzzled me is the discipline of prayer. For years, prayer was a necessity. I prayed everyday cause I knew God commanded that we pray continuously. However, as I finished my undergraduate degree, the more and more I was confused by prayer. Questions began to plague me when I prayed:

If I ask God for basic necessities, does that mean I don't trust Him? When prayers go unanswered, does that mean I don't know the will of God? If don't know the will of God, then how do I align myself with God's will again?

Questions like this constantly appeared when I tried to pray, and quickly I became very distracted and very downhearted. Last year, I picked up another book on prayer which was barely mediocre. Undeterred, I purchased "Prayer" by one of my favorite authors Philip Yancey.

A refreshing look at prayer, Yancey promptly admits that prayer is a struggle for the fallen race of humanity and he also confesses that prayer is a serious mystery for humans. The very act of finite humans conversing with an infinite being is certainly inconceivable. However, Yancey continues to examine prayer through the concept of relationship - a relationship between one and God.

The baffling question is why a so powerful, omniscience God would want to even hear our prayers? Understanding God's grace and love is one of the essential points of faith. It's odd to think that one of the biggest hurdles for me (and for others) is that God actually cares. He cares so much, He would rather hear your ugly complaints than nothing at all. Yancey frequently refers the Psalms which are filled with seriously harsh criticisms and protests directed at the Lord.

Praying aligns our hearts to God. The very act of laying down our thoughts, problems, and pains to the Lord is already a huge burden-lifting act. Through the act of prayer, we are constantly reminding ourselves that we are not the one in charge.

"Prayer" by Philip Yancey is a definite recommend. At a 300+ pages, it may seem long but it is a pretty simple read. Slow through some parts, Yancey is known for throwing in too many real life stories to drive a point home. It makes him a little more unique and more readable than other Christian authors, but sometimes he seems like he is trying to hard. But once again, Yancey impresses me, able to write about such a deep theological topic without being bland and impersonal.

"A sense of unworthiness hardly disqualifies me for prayer; rather, it serves as a necessary starting point"

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