“Prayer: Does it Make any Difference?”

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

Chapter 10: Does Prayer Change God?

I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). p. 131

In Chapter 10, Philip addresses the question of whether praying to God makes any difference.

He quotes Origen, the first Christian writer to address this issue: “First, if God foreknows what will come to be and if it must happen, then prayer is in vain. Second, if everything happens according to God’s will and if what He wills is fixed and none of the things He wills can be changed, then prayer is in vain.” p. 131

Philip goes on to say that in the Bible however, we see a “picture of God as a personal Being who alertly listens to prayers and then responds.” p. 132

1. Have you had a personal experience where God answered your prayer, or a life situation changed because of your prayer?

2. What does God mean when we hear that “God does not change?”

3. How important is God’s “style of governing the world?” p. 136

4. Why would the Lord want to partner with humans in this world? How would prayer be a part of that partnership?

5. Philip states that [Jesus] “went away for us into direct communication with God and to give us a crucial role in the struggle against the forces of evil.” p. 143

6. Given the task of partnering with the Lord against evil, how important is the task of communicating with God through prayer?

Chapter 11: Ask, Seek, Knock

“Strive on, like the shameless neighbor in the middle of the night. Keep pounding the door.” p. 146

In Chapter 11, we get the idea that not only are we supposed to petition the Lord in prayer, we need to be persistent in our petition. “God has infinite tolerance for our requests and demands, especially those supporting the cause of God’s own kingdom.” p. 149

1. Philip writes that generations may pass before we get an answer to prayer. Have you ever prayed persistently for something and never received an answer from the Lord?

a. Do you feel defeated? Strengthened? Philip writes that God views [our] persistence as a sign of genuine desire for change, the one prerequisite for spiritual growth.

i. Do you see your persistence in this light?

2. Why would persistent prayer change us?

3. We often want the Lord to act immediately on our issues. But that time frame is often wrong. How should we be conducting our time as we “wait on the Lord?”

Chapter 12: Yearning For Fluency

“Prayer requires the faith to believe that God listens, through I have no hard evidence, and that my prayers matter. Neither belief comes easily to me.” p. 160

Many of us have doubts that the method of prayer and the process of prayer are “sufficient” for God. But Mother Teresa states, “By praying…if you want to pray better, you must pray more.” p. 161

1. How do you pray? Do you have a prayer routine?

2. Do you feel like you should have a disciplined time of prayer?

3. Philip talks about how prayer allows him to retreat from this world to a world that renews his mind. Have you developed that world for yourself?

Finally, Philip quotes a pastor from Chicago who used to pray, “God, show me what you are doing today, and how I can be a part of it.” p. 168

Isn’t that the request our Lord would want to hear from a partner willing to fight evil in this world?

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.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Barbara Fox says:

    I like “God show me what you ae doing today so I can be a part of it” I often ask God, what can I do today to let your love shine through me.

  • Lee Seidl says:

    In Chapter 11, Phillip states that
    “ generations may pass before persistent prayer receives its answers “ . That says to me that I can have an impact on my precious family that already I love now, and yet will never know. This is such an opportunity for me to touch their lives , their their decisions, their futures. What a gift the Lord has given me !

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