Prayer HC: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey

By Philip Yancey

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We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us,” wrote C. S. Lewis. To put it another way, we must trust God with what God already knows. A friend from Canada wrote me that for much of her life she shamed herself for having negative emotions such as sadness, fear, and anger. She tried to suppress them but realized that any false attempt to change negative emotions into more positive ones would mean pretending not to feel things that she was actually feeling. She concluded, And to do that before God is a waste of time.

I had gained another glimpse of my place in the universe, and God’s — the view from above. I never saw the elk again, even though every afternoon I searched the fields and forest for them. Over the next few days I said many words to God. I was turning fifty that year, and I asked for guidance on how I should prepare my soul for the rest of life. I made lists, and many things came to mind that would not have come to mind had I not been sitting in a field for hours at a time. The week became a kind of spiritual checkup that pointed out paths for further growth.

Unpredictable Presence Besides the disproportion between us, relating to God presents another major challenge: invisibility. Although we “live and move and have our being” in God, as Paul said, my awareness of God’s presence may be as fickle as the weather. ” These things feed my faith: epiphanies of beauty in nature, sunbursts of grace and forgiveness, the portrait of God I get in Jesus, stirring encounters with ­people who truly live out their faith. And these feed my doubts: God’s baffling tolerance of history’s atrocities, my unanswered prayers, sustained periods of God’s seeming absence.

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