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Archive for the ‘Philip Yancey’ Category

…how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? — Matthew 7:11

… how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? — Luke 11:13

Philip Yancy


We pray for what God wants to give us, which may turn out to be good gifts or it may be the Holy Spirit. (From God’s viewpoint there is no better response to persistent prayer than the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s own self.)

Like Peter, we may pray for food and get a lesson in racism; like Paul we may pray for healing and get humility.

We may ask for relief from trials and instead get patience to bear them.

We may pray for release from prison and instead get strength to redeem the time while there.

Asking, seeking, and knocking does have an effect on God, as Jesus insists, but it also has a lasting effect on the asker-seeker-knocker.

— Yancey, Philip (2008-09-02). Prayer (Kindle Locations 3330-3340). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: – 2nd Thessalonians 3:1

I’m sure glad I’m not the only one who thinks this way — the logic goes like this:

  1. God lives outside of time, it is all now to him;
  2. God acts on prayer from us;
  3. So why can’t my prayer now affect events in the past as easily as the future?

Logically there is no reason why not but how can they if they have already happened? When Paul or Jesus in the Bible asks believers to pray for something is it not biblical for me to pray now?

Philip Yancey in his book on prayer thinks through the same thing, finding help from C.S.Lewis

“How does God’s timelessness affect prayer? C.S.Lewis decided it altogether reasonable to pray at noon for a medical consultation that might have been conducted at ten o’clock as long as we do not know the final result before we pray. “The event certainly has been decided — in a sense it was decided ‘before all worlds.’ But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering.” – Prayer, by Philip Yancey quoting C.S.Lewis, Miracles pg. 185-6

Prayer:“Father I pray for the Apostle Paul, as he requested so many years ago, that your words spoken through him will have free course to spread, glorifying God in my life and in my world! Amen!”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Let [the way you live] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee – Hebrews 13:5

Some people are so focused on what they lack they can’t enjoy what they have. But there will always be something more we feel we can’t do without.

Let those feelings go! Philip Yancey tells of the visitor to a local monastery:

“I hope your stay is a blessed one,” said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. “If you need anything, let us know and we’ll teach you how to live without it.” – Prayer, pg 55

God gives the gift of being content; he is a lot like the hardware store where my wife worked when we were first married. Their sign read,

“If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”

— fritz@langgang.com

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Prayer Varies

Prayer includes moments of ecstasy and also dullness, mindless distraction and acute concentration, flashes of joy and bouts of irritation. In other words, prayer has features in common with all relationships that matter. — Philip Yancey, Prayer, pg.19

We may not be satisfied with our prayer time, but it’s the best thing we have so we keep at it.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” – John 6:68 (NIV)

— fritz@langgang.com

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[Y]our Father knows what you need before you ask Him. — Jesus (Matthew 6:8b)

Philip Yancey has some insight about why God wants us to pray when he already knows it all.

“We do not pray to tell God what he does not know, nor to remind him of things he has forgotten. He already cares for the things we pray about…. He has simply been waiting for us to care about them with him” – Philip Yancey, Prayer pg. 60

— fritz@langgang.com

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“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” — Jesus (Matthew 6:7)

“[T]he words I use are the least important part of prayer … Prayer invites me to lower defenses and present the self that no other person fully knows to a God who already knows” – Philip Yancey (Prayer, pg. 30)

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Philip Yancey

“How odd, that prayer seems foolish to some people who base their lives on media trends, superstition, instinct, hormones, social propriety or even astrology.”

– Philip Yancey, Prayer pg.22

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