“Prayer: Does it Make any Difference?”

by Philip Yancey
Study with Anne Griffith, Founder, The Enlighten Foundation

Chapters 7–9

I have long begged the Lord for help over the years. People would tell me things like, “Just let go and let God! The Lord is testing you,” “If it’s difficult the Lord isn’t in it,” or the counter to that, “You must not be doing the Lord’s work because you’re having such problems.”

I felt like I was on pins and needles doing God’s work—worrying that maybe I wasn’t doing something right, it wasn’t enough, or maybe it was all together the wrong mission for God. And then one day I just decided I was done with worrying. It was also the same time I decided I was done with working 60 hours a week. I decided to stop working every day at 3:00 and do something else that was fun or different.

And I said to the Lord, “Your turn” and “Good luck!” And a funny thing happened. The most remarkable people started appearing on the doorstep of The Enlighten Foundation. People who actually cared about the programs and cared about the outcome.

The beauty is that I began seeing God’s world from a different perspective. Perhaps my “wrestling match” was not to think God wants us to run ourselves into the ground to bring the Lord’s Light? Hmmmm. Maybe.

Chapter 7, Wrestling Match

by Philip Yancey
Study with Anne Griffith, Founder, The Enlighten Foundation

Chapter 7, Wrestling Match

“As Abraham learned, when we appeal to God’s grace and compassion the fearsome God soon disappears…God is more merciful than we can imagine and welcomes appeals to that mercy.” p. 91

1. Do you see God as merciful?

2. Read More than Enough? by Jenny on p. 92. She says, “The truth is, 49 percent of the time God isn’t enough. It hurts. But 51 percent of the time God is enough…meanwhile, we keep fighting. God and I.”

a. Do you see yourself fighting with God? And how about God filling your emptiness. Do you have a percentage of how much God fills you?

3. Philip reminded us of how often Moses argued with God. On p. 95, Philip states that, “In the very process of arguing, we may in fact take on God’s own qualities.” What would those qualities be?

4. On p. 100, the Chaplain states that the opposite of love is indifference. Why would indifference be the opposite of love? Has the Lord been indifferent to you? Have you been indifferent to the Lord? Did “indifference” ever make a difference for good?

Chapter 8, Partnership

by Philip Yancey
Study with Anne Griffith, Founder, The Enlighten Foundation

Chapter 8, Partnership

Philip writes, “Prayer in cooperation with God, a consent that opens the way for grace to work.” He adds, “God’s Spirit whispers rather than shouts, and brings peace not turmoil.” p. 103

1. In this insane world, how do you listen to God’s whispers?

2. What tips can you give to others to help them listen to the Lord?

Archbishop William Temple says, “When I pray, coincidences happen, when I don’t, they don’t.” p. 106

1. What coincidences have you seen in your life?

2. Did you see God in those coincidences?

On pages 106-107, Philip goes through Stages of Prayer.

1. Do you incorporate these stages in your prayer time already? How well is that going for you? If it’s not going well, what stages do you need to add to your prayer time?

On p. 112, Philip states:

• “God does very little on earth without the likes of you and us.”

• “As partners in God’s work on earth, we insist that God’s will be done while at the same time committing ourselves to whatever that may require of us.”

• “God has called out partners on earth to serve as heralds of a world on the way to healing and redemption.”

We are starting to see ourselves as being very instrumental in doing the Lord’s work. Are you committed to doing this work? In your study of prayer are you seeing God’s need for you to be God’s representative? Do you see the need to communicate with God regarding this representation? Are you willing to take the time to develop that communication through prayer?

Chapter 9: What Difference Does It Make?

by Philip Yancey
Study with Anne Griffith, Founder, The Enlighten Foundation

Philip goes through the conversation we often hear from other Christians, in essence, “please pray for us.” Philip’s response is also one we hear, “Yes [I’ll pray for you] but, we honestly do want to help. What else can we do?” Philip then states, “I have since learned that Christians who have no access to earthly power truly believe prayer gives them access to a greater force.” p. 117

1. Why would prayer be the greatest force?

Also on p. 117, Philip reviews the question: “Why do bad things happen?”

1. We all face adversity: violence, death, sickness, and often Christians turn from the Lord, get angry and sometimes permanently turn their backs on God. What adversities have you faced? How have you handled those with the Lord?

2. On p. 124, Bonhoeffer states, “A day without morning and evening prayers and personal intercessions is actually a day without meaning or importance.”

Do you make a conscious effort to pray in the morning, evening and throughout the day?

a. How does that help you with your decision making? Your priorities?

3. Philip states, “We cannot simply pray and then wait for God to do the rest…the battle against evil requires both prayer and prayerful action.” p. 124

a. Do you see yourself in an active Christian role?

b. In what ways to you see Prayer being the “intercessor” for your work?

4. Re-read the final two paragraphs regarding the scene recorded in the book of Revelation. The notion that “fragrant prayers come hurling down to earth in thunder, lightning and an earthquake”—and the comment from Walter Wink that “pray-ers are essential agents in the final victory over evil, suffering, and death.” p. 130

a. Do you see your prayers being changemakers on this earth? Do you see yourself as being a changemaker for the Lord on this earth?

If you have a prayer that you would like the Prayer Walkers to know about, please email us at Prayer@enlightenfoundation.org or call us at 720-575-5402.

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