“Prayer: Does it Make any Difference?”

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

Chapter 5: Coming Together

Page 60: “God cares about the ordinary and everyday, as well as the peak experiences…God knows all of who I am…the genetics and the environment, the thoughts and motives, as well as the actions.”

When I first read this, I flashed back to a really darling scene where my 2-year-old grandson ran away from me and I found him standing behind a plant covering his face with his hands. Sometimes we think we’re “getting away” with something and that God might be too busy to see us doing this or that. But no. God is right there. And while that understanding might seem overwhelming, Philip reminds us that God wants us to be the best we can be and wants the best for us.

1. Is it hard for you to think that God is there for you? And wants the best for you?

2. When we “do” something that we feel and know is not part of the purpose for which God intended for us, why do we continue to do it?

Page 63: “Jesus set the pattern for prayer as a continuous mode of friendship.”

Philip talks about prayer as “keeping company with God.” (p.62) But he adds something we all struggle with, “How can I commune with a God who tends not to use audible words in response?” (p.63)

1. How do you approach God in prayer, when an audible response doesn’t come from God?

Page 64: “I see that God, like most of us, cares mainly about being loved, believed, trusted, honored.”

All four of these words work together don’t they? We believe and honor a person if that person can be trusted. If we trust, believe in and honor a person, we generally love that person, because that person gives us truth.

1. Do you see God in these terms?

2. If you still have trepidation with loving God, is there an aspect of trusting God that you would be willing to own?

Page 69: “He led him to the Wailing Wall, away from the place where people pray, to the site of the ruins of the Temple. When they reached that place, Reb Dovid told him that it was time to express all the anger he felt toward God. Then, for more than an hour, the man struck the wall of the Kotel with his hands and screamed his heart out. After that he began to cry and could not stop crying, and little by little his cries became sobs that turned into prayers. And that is how Reb Dovid Din taught him how to pray.”

As I understand the story, we need to get our anger out first as we talk to God. That makes sense. If God knows us, then “beating around the bush” is a waste of time in our discussions with the Lord. Being angry could also produce sarcasm which is unworthy of God.

1. What results have you had when you were angry with God?

2. Were you able to communicate with God on a more even keeled level, with greater understanding once your anger had passed?

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