Yancey’s note: Prayer can be frustrating, confusing, and fraught with mystery. I probe such questions as: Is God listening? Why should God care about me? If God knows everything, what’s the point of prayer? How can I make prayer more satisfying? Why do so many prayers go unanswered? Do prayers for healing really matter? Does prayer change God? I began with a list of such questions, then I studied all 650 prayers in the Bible and interviewed scores of people about their own experiences with prayer. The process of writing caused a revolution in my own conception and practice of prayer. I now see it not so much as a way of getting God to do my will as a way of being available to get in the stream of what God.
Yancey’s note: How does the Jesus of the New Testament compare to the “new, rediscovered” Jesus—or even the Jesus we think we know so well? Thousands of books have been written about Jesus, and yet still he remains an elusive historical figure. For several years I taught a class on Jesus that relied on movie depictions of his life. Out of that class came this book, for teaching it gave me a new and different perspective on his work—his teachings, his miracles, his death and resurrection—and ultimately, who he was and why he came. In this book I emphasize the relational and personal rather than the scholarly. Who was this man Jesus? What was he like? No one who meets Jesus ever stays the same.
Yancey’s note: I had originally conceived a book called What’s So Amazing About Grace and Why Don’t Christians Show More of It? in order to speak to the growing enchantment of American Christians with right-wing politics. Christians were becoming known mainly for what they were against: pornography, homosexuality, abortion, etc. That disturbed me, as I see grace as one of the great, often untapped, powers of the universe that God has asked us to set loose. As I wrote, the book became less about politics and society and more about the wonders of God’s grace and how it can transform individuals, families, and even nations.
Your turn… Which books by Yancey have you read? Take a moment to share how they’ve impacted you.