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


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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: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

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For me, this book has been a worthwhile read.
Jeff
This book is an excellent resource for anyone who has questioned his or her faith.
Bereaved parent
This book caught my eye as I was searching for something else.
Judith Flowers

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 Verified Purchase
Some readers may strongly disagree with my thoughts on prayer in general, and this book in particular. If that is you, I respect your opinion, but please don't send me snarky posts about it. These are simply my perspectives.

From my personal observations and understanding of the Bible, I have concluded that most prayers will not be answered in any kind of tangible or "provable" way. That is the simple reality and mystery of the Christian life. Some people are afraid to admit that. I am not.

That being said, this is likely the best book I have read on prayer. Still, it has some faults.

The author starts to take us down a highway that no other book on prayer I am aware of ever has, but sadly, he doesn't quite get us to that destination in my estimation.

The book has it's genesis in profound and unimaginable personal tragedy. Thus, the writer definitely has some skin in the game (not that we all don't), and begins the first few chapters with some really hard and brutally honest questions about why some of our prayers go unanswered.

At one point though, he unfortunately goes off on what I view an an absurd theoretical tangent regarding what he thinks would have happened to him if, in fact, God had saved the lives of his family members who passed away in a car accident. This portion of the book is unfortunate "what if?" hyperbole in which the author is way too hard on himself, drawing conclusions that are questionable at best. It appears to be a well-intentioned but painfully ineffective attempt at rationalizing some unanswered prayers. In my view, it damages the credibility of the book as a whole somewhat.
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