When You Can’t Pray

Discussion points about the book ‘When You Can’t Pray’

  1. This book has a slightly misleading title – it’s a book that is about the wider issues of prayer, rather than just being about problems in praying. I think it will be of interest to a wide readership, not just those having problems.
  2. He emphasises the fact that prayer is about relationship, not just a magic formulation. This is a crucial point in Christian thinking – knowing that prayer is not trying to manipulate God to do something, but coming to him in real relationship.
  3. So he addresses what prayer does:
    • In some almost mysterious way it is part of God accomplishing his purposes on earth. We are not telling God something he doesn’t know, but he does allow us to be a part of his work.
    • It is part of life in the Kingdom. The king expects and wants his subjects to come to him with their needs and concerns. The Kingdom is a safe place, the people in the kingdom are secure. They are free to ask.
    • Prayer reveals our hearts – the things we pray about are the things that matter most to us. It may have a task of showing us ourselves really clearly. We may need to adjust some of our prayers then.
    • God allows us to be ‘cheeky’. We can ask, question, complain It would seem that God welcomes all this if it means we are in authentic relationships with him.
  4. So the big questions are:
    • What sort of God have we got – not one in our making. The Creator not the created.
    • What sort of faith do we live? Not one without doubt. We can still come to God even when we are in a state of doubt.
    • What sort of lives do we lead? One where tragedies happen. These should not be shied away from or covered up. The promise is not of insurance so that these will not happen, but of the peace of God that is to be experienced in the midst of the realities of life.
  5. I enjoyed the book. It is ordered well, is easy to follow and is not simplistic. It could be used by groups together wanting to get to grips with the issues of prayer and life.