Mar 7, 2010

Prayer, Does it Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey (Review)

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 with mystery. Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? is an exploration of the mysterious intersection where God and humans meet and relate. Writing as a fellow pilgrim, Yancey explores such questions as:

•Is God listening? 

•Why should God care about me? 
•If God knows everything, what’s the point of prayer? 
•Why do answers to prayer seem so inconsistent and capricious? 
•Why does God seem sometimes close and sometimes far away? 
•How can I make prayer more satisfying?


Philip Yancey serves as editor-at-large for Christianity Today magazine. He has written twelve Gold Medallion Award-winning books and won two ECPA Book of the Year awards for What's So Amazing About Grace? and The Jesus I Never Knew. Four of his books have sold over one million copies. He lives with his wife in Colorado.


Prayer, does it make any difference? Philip Yancey covers the subject of prayer in great detail, and just like the subtitle of this book, he asks lots of questions. I did not find this book to be an instruction manual about how to pray, but rather guides the reader to change how they think about prayer. I found the book almost too much to digest, and wish it were easier to grasp what Mr. Yancey was trying to portray.

My favourite part of this book was the individual interviews or writings by a number of various people who discussed their personal thoughts about prayer. Jim quoted on page 141, "Nowadays I don't spend time worrying, "Is God there or not?" I assume God's presence. I don't spend much time asking God for things either. Specific requests are almost a joke to me. Mainly, I want reassurance that God loves me, and that he understands what I'm concerned about. I've learned to trust God. When I do that, everything else slides down in importance."

I found it much easier to relate to the inserts written by these individuals than to the author's words. I have read other books by Philip Yancey, but found this one just harder to get into. However, this book is one that I will definitely keep on the bookshelf and I will try to read through it again. Maybe I will get more out of it the next time.

My rating - 3 out of 5

Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for sending a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of review.

# Hardcover: 352 pages
# Publisher: Zondervan Books (Sep 14 2006)
# ISBN-10: 0310271053
# ISBN-13: 978-0310271055


  1. That's frustrating to me sometimes, when you read about such an important topic that turns out not to tie together all that well. It sounds like an interesting read, though. Thanks for reviewing. :)

  2. Yes, a great review and the new header is awesome too!