Does prayer really make a difference? It is often a question asked, even by those with the deepest of faith. One man, who was in East Texas this week, has devoted an entire book to that one question. KTLV 7 News looks at whether prayer can make a difference in your life.
Philip Yancy wrote the book "Prayer; Does It Make A Difference" for one reason.
"There is just a huge gap between what the experts say about prayer and what the average person experiences. So, it is easy to get discouraged," said Yancy.
In Tyler on a 15-city speaking tour, Yancy said his thoughts on prayer are much different than the day he began working on the book.
"When I started, my prayers were very self-oriented. I would start with myself, and my job in prayer was to try and get God to care about my life and then fix some things in my life that needed a little of God's help. It's very different now. I see prayer as a way to understand what God is already doing in this world, and then trying to figure out what should be my role," he said.
It is that simple idea, Yancy believes is the key to unlocking the power of prayer. "There are 650 prayers in the Bible, and they cover the whole spectrum. There are angry prayers. There are prayers of Thanksgiving. There are prayers of complaint and praise. They are all in there, and I think what God is primarily interested in is to be honest about ourselves, to let down those barriers, to let him see who we really are. Then, in the process, we get a good picture of who God is and what God wants done in the world."
"God isn't judging us on 'Is this an important matter for discussion or not?' God is interested in our lives because he is interested in us. So that question, 'Am I doing it right?' The Bible says if you are sharing the deepest parts of yourself then yes, you are doing it right."
But Yancy is quick to point out there are still many things we don't know about prayer, questions that have been asked for thousands of years, but how we approach prayer is the first step in understanding its power.
"We have enough stories, we have enough clues to truly be convinced of the power of prayer, that God is active in the world. At the same time, it is not a magic formula. It is not something that I certainly would feel comfortable promising, 'If you do this, then this will happen.' There is always going to be that mystery. Jesus himself experienced that mystery. The apostle Paul experienced that mystery."
"God isn't our little errand boy up there just to do our will. God has his own will. I think prayer is our way of learning what that will is, learning how we need to change to be used by God, then going out in the world around us and reaching out, showing the world what God is like and who God cares for and what God wants to accomplish in this world."
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