Does It Make Any Difference?
Currently, I’m reading the Philip Yancey book Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? Philip Yancey is one of my favorite authors whose Christ-centered books explore the tough questions of faith. He has written over 20 books such as Where is God When It Hurts?, What’s So Amazing About Grace?, The Jesus I Never Knew, Disappointment with God, Reaching for the Invisible God and others.
But the reason I’m reading this particular book now is because I’m wrestling with the fact that I don’t do it enough. Pray, I mean. Although I always mean to. And although I always know I should. But to be quite honest (and have I mentioned how difficult that can be?), I often wrestle with prayer. With how effective it is. With how effective I am at doing it. With what exactly it’s supposed to accomplish with real significance. With what it means to God when I do it, and what it means to me when I don’t.
And yet, I do know that it matters. I know because if prayer truly stands as the place where God and I meet, then I can’t afford not to pray. Without the corrective vision of prayer in my life, I too easily lose sight of God’s perspective on things. Prayer restores my vision to one that more closely resembles His. (And trust me, if you really knew me, you’d know how much I need that. …sigh…) So if nothing else, I need to pray because it changes me.
But I’m pretty sure there’s more to it than that. So I’m digging a little deeper these days and wrestling with God about it. (Which is kind of funny because that in itself is a form of prayer.) I’m admitting my weaknesses concerning it—my fears, my doubts, my insecurities, and my lack of faith. And unlike me, I know that God is totally comfortable with this honesty. In fact, it’s kind of His thing. And if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that God does some of His best and most redeeming work in my life when I come to Him openly, honestly and humbly. “These are the ones I look on with favor; those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
And so I’m going to pray about prayer. Funny, I know. But I think it’s worth praying about on any given day with every given step of faith.