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When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer Hardcover – December 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Few people know the desperate agony of unanswered prayer as much as Sittser, whose mother, wife and young daughter died when a drunk driver hit their car. (He and three other children survived.) "Why doesn't God answer our prayers?... It is no longer an abstract question to me," he writes. To find an answer, he turns the question inside out and upside down: When our prayers go unanswered, does it mean we don't have enough faith, or have prayed the wrong way? What would happen if God answered all our prayers? Prayer seems to work sometimes, "which only makes the problem of unanswered prayer more bewildering." Sittser acknowledges that some answered prayers would be bad for us we might use the power of prayer for wealth, success and domination at the expense of others. His own eloquent and powerful musings are interspersed with thoughts from such classic writers as Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Tolstoy and O. Hallesby, and contemporary writers such as Jane Kenyon, Henri Nouwen and Leif Enger. In the end, he writes that unanswered prayer challenges us to explore the deepest places within us and to ask ourselves searching questions. "Perhaps how we respond in the face of such mystery is more important than whether or not we will ever find an answer to the question itself," he muses. Although the study questions at the end of each chapter can be distracting, any Christian who has ever questioned the validity of prayer will find this to be a luminous book, full of vulnerable and venerable wisdom.
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Review

Few people know the desperate agony of unanswered prayer as much as Sittser, whose mother, wife and young daughter died when a drunk driver hit their car. (He and three other children survived.) 'Why doesn't God answer our prayers?... It is no longer an abstract question to me,' he writes. To find an answer, he turns the question inside out and upside down: When our prayers go unanswered, does it mean we don't have enough faith, or have prayed the wrong way? What would happen if God answered all our prayers? Prayer seems to work sometimes, 'which only makes the problem of unanswered prayer more bewildering.' Sittser acknowledges that some answered prayers would be bad for us---we might use the power of prayer for wealth, success and domination at the expense of others. His own eloquent and powerful musings are interspersed with thoughts from such classic writers as Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Tolstoy and O. Hallesby, and contemporary writers such as Jane Kenyon, Henri Nouwen and Leif Enger. In the end, he writes that unanswered prayer challenges us to explore the deepest places within us and to ask ourselves searching questions. 'Perhaps how we respond in the face of such mystery is more important than whether or not we will ever find an answer to the question itself,' he muses. Although the study questions at the end of each chapter can be distracting, any Christian who has ever questioned the validity of prayer will find this to be a luminous book, full of vulnerable and venerable wisdom. (Jan.) -- Publisher's Weekly <br><br>
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (December 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310243262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310243267
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When books move you it's time to tell others. Anyone who has ever seen a loss or has suffered pain can find some comfort in this book. It is written by a man who has been there and hung on to God through it. The book is powerful because it is filled with truth and does not give excuses. Jerry Sittser talks about real pain and the results in his life. He has something profound to say about it and in that did something for my soul.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. Williams on September 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book isn't filled with quick and easy answers to why God doesn't answer our prayers. But rather the author tries to encourage the reader down a path that he himself has traveled before and still walks. Jerry Sittser uses both Scripture and his personal experience to reflect upon the difficult times in life when God seems distant and when prayers go unanswered. This book was very encouraging for me for I am currently going through a difficult time in life. Did it solve all my problems? No...rather it was an encouraging testimony to what it is to learn from life and moments like these.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bereaved parent on February 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who has questioned his or her faith. For the first time I realized what prayer really is and how I could make prayer work in my life. After the death of my 2 year old daughter from brain cancer I wondered why God did not answer the many prayers that were sent his way by so many. I did not want to be one of the many who turn away from God/religion when prayers go unanswered so I sought answers. Jerry Sitter's book is for anyone who has had a prayer not answered. After reading his book I was left with the knowledge of knowing more about myself and still willing to pray! Thank you Mr. Sittser!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. B. Chen on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book! We've all have (and will go) gone through trials and tribulations through our lives, and there have been so many times when I cried out to God but yet feel that He was distant and cold; I felt so forsaken and alone. This book has given me so much insight and understanding, instead of being upset with God, I'm grateful for those unanswered prayers because I know He knows what's best for me (albeit it's so difficult to accept at times). I want to thank Mr. Sittser for writing this book.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the great mysteries of Christianity is prayer. Despite the fact that Christians are praying many, many prayers every single day, terrible things still happen both to the world and even the people we care about the most. Thus, one of the biggest stumbling blocks towards people fully accepting Christ as their savior is the fact that so many prayers seemed to go unanswered. In this book, Jerry Sittser tackles that issue head-on.

Obviously, a book like this does not contain "concrete answers". Trying to fully understand God is impossible for the human intellect, so you must just live with the fact that we can't "know everything" about the complexities of prayer. What Sittser does, however, is cull from his scholarly Biblical training as well as his own personal experiences to take the reader on a journey into the depths of what "prayer" can really do all about.

This is an issue of Christianity that I myself often struggle with (e.g. praying to God and feeling as if all I'm getting is a "blank wall"), so I was pleased that such a book even exists in the first place. I was worried that Sittser would offer little more than motivational advice, but instead he gives a very well-researched, well thought-out case as to why he continues to pray in spite of his own personal tragedy.

This book also can appeal to do different types of readers. Those who already have a strong base of Christianity will lean towards the author's more personal experiences. Those who may just be starting their walk with Christ will appreciate the quotes/examples from Biblical times right up through the present day that Sittser uses to illustrate his points.

Overall, I found this book to be very insightful and finished it in short order. Like I said, it (practically by definition) cannot be an "answer book", but it does provide some wonderful testimonials and lessons upon both the mystery and power of prayer.
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Format: Hardcover
Another Book You Might Read is...

Pete Greig's "God on Mute: Engaging the Silence of Unanswered Prayer."

Yet, note: Mr. Greig too arrives at some of the same shop-worn conclusions as Mr. Sittser and other books on prayer. But at least Greig and Sittser aren't like Job's 'friends.'

So it seems people who encounter God as silent and/or absent may have to find answers on their own...

Link to Greig's book: http://www.amazon.com/God-Mute-Engaging-Silence-Unanswered/dp/0801018412/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425321730&sr=1-1&keywords=god+on+mute+engaging+the+silence+of+unanswered+prayer

Best,
DSW
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