Here are some more quotes from Yancey’s book. He has a way of voicing some of the things that we think but won’t say out loud because it would make us sound less Christian. His contention,as well as mine, is that questions lead to answers which leads to Truth which always grows our faith.
The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier, nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. I need God more than anything I might get from God. Yet when I seek to know God through prayer, certain problems rear up. p.56
Why praise God who, unlike friends, does not need a lift? Why inform God of needs that God already knows about? Why thank God, who hardly needs a pat on the back?… Why pray? What makes this strange practice, so problematic for many, important to God? p.57
I find prayer hard work, not the rejuvenating refuge it meant to Jesus. I struggle to see prayer as a dialogue, not a monologue. How can I commune with a God who tends not to use audible words in response? p.63
Does God really care about the details of our lives, such as getting a house sold or finding a lost cat? And if the answer is yes, then what about a hurricane that flattens a city or a tsunami that washes away a quarter million people? Why does God seem so capricious in deciding if and when to intervene on this chaotic planet? p.73
After surveying Jesus’ practice of prayer, I realize that his example does answer one important question about prayer: Does it matter?… He prayed as if it made a difference, as if the time devoted to prayer mattered every bit as much as the time he devoted to caring for people. p.79
For me, prayer is the key to making life an adventure. In the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein, poor Frodo only gets enough direction for the next lap of the journey. As he looks back, it all works out, but most of the time he wanders around confused and helpless. Only occasionally, and in subtle ways, does Gandalf actively give assistance and guidance. p.83 – by Harold.
I learn as much from the prayers Jesus did not pray as from those he did. These, too, underscore God’s mysterious style of working on this planet. When his cousin John faced imprisonment and certain execution, Jesus did not pray for his release and miraculous delivery – just as he did not pray that Satan keep his hands off Peter, nor that Judas change his mind. p. 85
I particularly like that last quote. Had never really thought about the prayers Jesus didn’t pray. Not only does Jesus pray in a different way than me, He doesn’t pray in a different way than me. Still so much to learn.
I’m just sayin’!