Gerald Lawson Sittser, Author, Jerry L. Sittser, Author . Zondervan $18.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-310-24326-7

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.)

Reviewed on: 11/10/2003
Release date: 12/01/2003
Compact Disc - 978-0-310-25398-3
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